Rating: 5 / 5
BELOVED by Toni Morrison was February’s pick for the #classicsbuddyread hosted by @freefallinreader. I read this one way back in high school (a lot of years ago) when I had Toni Morrison as my chosen author to do a deep dive into her novels for an English project for a year. I was therefore especially excited to revisit this book because I remember loving it while not remembering a lot of details.
BELOVED focuses on Sethe, a woman who was born as a slave and escaped to freedom as a grown woman with three children and one on the way. The book gives us her story at Sweet Home, the farm where she worked as a slave and had her first three children as well as her story after running away. In the later parts of the story, Sethe is living in a home in Ohio with the daughter she gave birth to on the run. Their home is haunted by the ghost of the baby daughter who died after leaving Sweet Home and is buried under a tombstone which simply reads Beloved.
It is hard to say a lot about the plot of this novel without giving away the twists that are coming. Toni Morrison’s writing is so powerful, giving a brutal look at Sethe’s life under slavery and the ongoing damage the experience had on her body and mind. This isn’t an easy read and there are trigger warnings for sexual assault and violence, but it is beautifully done nonetheless.
The audiobook is read by the author herself and I really loved getting it in that format. The way the narrative jumps back and forth in time is at first a bit hard to connect to, but once I got going with the flow of the narrative I enjoyed it and appreciated the way this allowed the author to sneak in surprise twists.
I do think this is a book that I got more out of on reread and probably would get more out of in future reads as well. I definitely look forward to revisiting more of Toni Morrison’s work in the future.
#popsugarreadingchallenge: a book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics