Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved is one of the few stories that shook me.

Maybe it’s because of the heightened awareness I have right now on the struggles and emotions tearing through our communities. But these aren’t new. The social issues being brought to the American attention have been woven in our culture for a very, very long time. If you need proof, look to the classic literature of black authors.

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

Toni Morrison is an author I took a long time to approach. I think that’s actually a good thing though; I could not have possibly understood her work a few years ago. The story of Beloved spans many themes and at times was hard to follow but Morrison’s characters are all wonderfully crafted. The character development is so perfectly done that most of the dialogue can be done without telling you who is speaking – you just know.

The songs and literal poetry are woven into the story perfectly so that every change in rhythm flows together seamlessly. Morrison gave us a story that did need to be told. One that demonstrates tragedy, love, and loss most of us could never fathom. It’s an amazing book that deserves all its accolades and should be read widely.

Her writing has and will continue to stand the test of time. No matter where we as a society go from here, stories like Beloved will serve as a means of education – to express the feelings and experiences of people who have had to remind this country that they are people too – time and time again.

Image and synopsis retrieved from Amazon

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