My reading choices have been lacking for probably 75% of my life. There are so many books that are considered required readings for black people. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is one of them and I am long overdue. Although I feel that reading should be fun and there shouldn’t be any competition, I think reading should also teach us something. And sometimes it is best to learned more about our own struggles from people who actually have the experience. Here is my review of The Bluest Eye.
About the book
Author: Toni Morrison who is actually from Lorain, Ohio! O.H.I.O
Published: 1st published in June 1970; there has been several editions published after
Other works: The Bluest Eye is Morrison’s first novel. She has also written a plethora of amazing and profound novels such as Sula, Tar Baby, Beloved, Song of Solomon, Jazz, and more.
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.
Toni Morrison has a great way of telling you a story and throwing in a reality check while you’re enjoying said story. And I absolutely love it. This is only my second Morrison book; I read Sula over a year ago and I am truly ashamed that I am just now reading The Bluest Eye. At this point in my life I should have read several of her books. Honestly, for a while I was intimidated. I tried to read Beloved and Tar Baby and was totally lost in the sauce. But, I also attempted The Bluest Eye in the past and was not feeling it. Here is how I feel now.
Pecola Breedlove; the poor child. This book is somewhat centered around her, but it goes deeper than that. It’s goes back and tells you how she got to where she is with who she is with. As Toni said in the forward, this story is not necessarily trying to make you pity Pecola..it is trying to open your eyes to how we are and why we are the way we are. Self hatred in black people started long ago and was taught and instilled in us by the very people who enslaved, raped and killed us. And it still has a lasting effect and determines the way we treat one another.
In The Bluest Eye, Pecola is a victim of abuse from everyone around her; be it physical, verbal or sexual. She wants blue eyes like her white classmates because in her eyes, she feels like her life will be better. She feels that the bluest eyes and the blondest hair are symbols of beauty; perfection if you will. Nevermind the fact that the blue eyes don’t go and would be totally unatural (have you every seen a black person with blue contacts in? No bueno!). Sadly, Pecola doesn’t know any better because she was never taught any better. Let someone tell you you’re ugly all the time and see how you turn out? See what color eyes, skin and hair you would think are better?
This book is so timely and I think it will remain that way unless we make changes and stop continuing the cycle of self-hatred among our own people. I think Morrison wants us to turn the lens on ourselves and look within. Look at the things we think are normal and really analyze these things. This book makes me think about reminds a time I took my niece (6 at the time) Christmas shopping and she kept trying to pick out the lighter skinned or even the white Barbie. It really broke my heart and I refused to buy her those dolls. Even though I kind of knew why, I asked why she didn’t like the dolls that look more like her and she said because they’re ugly. Every since she was old enough to hold her head up her mother has been putting weave in her hair. So, who is teaching these children that their hair/skin color is ugly? Us! Even to this day!
I gave this book 4⭐️. Read it no matter who you are. Be uncomfortable because it’s not about your comfort..it’s about understanding what people who may not look like you have to deal with; putting yourself in their shoes so that you have a better understanding of what life is like for so many.