Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beloved by Toni Morrison - Jackie's Review

‘Beloved’ is the story of a woman haunted by the ghost of her baby. Set in post-Civil war Ohio it is the story of how former slaves, psychically and emotionally crippled by years of labour, attempt to deal with their past.

I found the first half of the book very slow. It was confusing, as it skipped around so much, and as I didn’t have a clue what was happening, it had no forward momentum.

I found certain aspects of it the book very irritating. Why did there have to be 3 characters called Paul? Why was the Grandma also called a baby? And why did all the female characters seem to have male names? This all increasing my frustration with the book.

The second half was much better. I began to work out what was happening, and could cope with the changing of narrator/time period. As it neared the end I was totally hooked. Some scenes were very moving, and will stay with me for a long time.

I think this would be a great book to study, as I'm sure there were lots of things I missed out on first time round.

Recommended, if you’re able to get past the first 100 pages.
Originally posted here


valentina said...

The Grandma was called Baby because that was how her master called her.
There's three Paul because slaves owner didn't bother to give their slaves different names and so they were called Paul D. Paul A , Paul F...

I don't know about female characters having male names.
I had never heard of the name Sethe so it's new to me and Denver is the names of a town. Not to mention Beloved.

I was a bit confused at first as well, but it didn't matter. The writing was so beautiful I just kept going enjoying it. The story unfolds slowly but i think it's also the beauty of it. I haven't finished reading it yet, though.

farmlanebooks said...

I have been reading a study guide for Beloved, and now understand a lot more about the book.

As Valentina points out, everything that annoyed me was there for a reason.

Studying this book has helped bring it life for me. It was very complicated at first, but I now appreciate it a lot more.

I still prefer books I can follow first time round though!