A Brief Book Review: Beloved by Toni Morrison

I can safely say that Beloved is the most dense book I have ever read. Not in its page numbers or the amount of words, but in the value each and every sentence carries. Reading just one line in this book was like bathing in a pool of thick molasses. Drink in hand, not knowing how to get out but not really wanting to. This book is like laying in the middle of a meadow full of dry, warm grass that confines just perfectly to your body. Sun slightly glowing, clouds slowly moving by, why would you ever want to leave? This book isn’t dark like some like to say, this book is real. The darkness doesn’t come from Sethe or what she did, the darkness comes from the system that forced her actions, that enabled her trauma.

This book is extraordinarily true. Who knew that ghosts, spirits, and a haunted house could feel so much more alive than a world without them? And while it is no surprise since I read The Bluest Eye that I would expect brilliance out of Morrison, this book has still managed to go beyond my expectations. Morrison’s story development, her use of every single sentence as being valuable, her character development, it made reading this book feel sacred or spiritual. 

This book reaches far beyond its own plot. While I had predictions for the future of her character “Beloved” before it was necessarily revealed, her purpose in this story can only be understood as the reader runs along Morrison’s words, as the sentences go on. This shows that Morrison writes so much beyond just a simple-plot line. Her stories are written off the pages, they tell tales much larger than even the dense sentences she surrounds us in. 

Read this book and you will be changed. Read about Denver, read about Sethe, read about Beloved, read about Paul D. Morrison writes of the legacy of slavery and systemic racism, she writes of the heroic survival of these structures. She writes about a woman so brutalized by violence, taking the lives of her own children seems humane in comparison. Read this book, and don’t ever forget it.

Published by ellakotsen

student at Bryn Mawr College

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