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Toni Morrison (Read) God Help the Child

Summary God Help the Child

Sufferings of childhood can shape and misshape the life of the adult 45 Absolutely amazing Morrison can put a story together as very few can Although only a short novel so much is said so much emotional territory is covered When Sweetness a light skinned black gives birth to a blue black baby she is appalled as is her husband who uickly leaves the family Treating her daughter Lulu Ann roughly she makes excuses for herself by thinking she is teaching her child how rough the world would treat her by the color of her skin Calling herself Bride Lulu Ann becomes a beauty and successful in business but not so in loveThe story shows how treatment in the past follows a person into the future the feelings of inferiority are hard to erase How violence is dealt to the young and helpless by the very people trusted to take care and love them This is a gritty novel reminiscent of her earliest novel Bluest Eye Her use of spare language her word choices descriptions and use of symbolism I found awe inspiring There is so much cause and effect in this novel not just with the main characters but in many of the relationships found within Although it is gritty there are also good people people who go out of their way to help a stranger Atonement is it ever possible to atone for the bad decisions of the past Can one ever truly overcome the bad events and memories of childhood Thought provoking novel by an author that has truly mastered her craft She gets itARC by publisher

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God Help the Child

Spare and unsparing God Help the Child the first novel by Toni Morri When I took a grad school class on Toni Morrison I started a pretentious I know tradition of 9 word reviews of her work Look I was young and she had written 9 books at the time Anyway I ll do the same hereEverybody is fucked up There s usually a good reasonThen I ll cheat and add that Toni Morrison is a national treasure and I m so thankful to have her books in my life

Toni Morrison ✓ 5 review

Son to be set in our current moment weaves a tale about the way the No lonesome wandering child with a fishing pole passed by and glanced at the adults in the dusty gray car But if one had he or she might have noticed the pronounced smiles of the couple how dreamy their eyes were but would not care a bit what caused that shine of happiness A child New life Immune to evil or illness protected from kidnap beatings rape racism insult hurt self loathing abandonment Error free All goodness Minus wrath So they believe The children in Toni Morrison s novel can use all the help they can get whether from God or some other source Lula Ann Bridewell was not what her high yellow parents had expected She was so black she scared me Midnight black Sudanese blackAin t nobody in my family anywhere near that colorI hate to say it but from the very beginning in the maternity ward Lula Ann embarrassed me Toni Morrison said in an interview For me the tar baby came to mean the black woman who can hold things together In this instance it is about a very black woman who cannot While she may be a successful cosmetics pro beautiful successful rising in the world we meet the adult Lula Ann who has erased the rest of her name and now calls herself by the mononym Bride as she is unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend The One Booker Starbern who announces You re not the woman I want before exiting to the percussive accompaniment of a slammed door How this came to be and Bride s uest to figure out why it did provide the foundation to which the rest of the narrative elements are addedBride has a bit of a tough go as her appreciation for people and relationships is only skin deep She tells of her Diet Coke like sex life deceptively sweet minus nutrition She tries to blow off her dumping Well anyway it was nothing like those double page spreads in fashion magazines you know couples standing half naked in surf looking so fierce and downright mean their sexuality like lightning and the sky going dark to show off the shine of their skin I love those ads But our affair didn t even measure up to any old R B song some tune with a beat to generate fever but fails at that In fact the departure of Booker sparks a physical demise for Bride well a magical realist retreat that no one else seems to see as she progressively devolves back to a child losing her ear piercings pubic hair weight sense of taste menstrual cycle and breasts Toni Morrison from The GuardianBride s erstwhile and very secretive bf Booker has issues of his own He especially liked her lack of interest in his personal life Where Bride is totally focused on the surface of things Booker who plays jazz hides behind his intellect applying himself to the study of the root of all evil but never really freeing himself to become an entire person He carries a burden of rage from his childhood that keeps him from being his own person Only if Bride and Booker can build themselves up to actual three dimensional people by looking beyond their own skins to consider the feelings of others can they have any hope of anything from life than ephemeral pleasures Only then can they truly connect Much of God Help the Child focuses on children how they are treated the long term impact of that treatment on themselves and on others Childhood here is a particularly fraught state Lula Ann Bride is almost shunned by her own mother who won t even allow her to call her Mama insisting that she call her Sweetness instead lest people on the street know for sure that someone that dark came from someone that light As a child she witnesses an act of child abuse Another character loses a relation to a child abuser and encounters a school yard flasher as an adult Bride had falsely testified against an allegedly abusive teacher done to gain at least some acceptance from her mother so children are capable of inflicting harm as well as receiving it Another child was prostituted by her mother and a serial abuser the nicest man in the world is reported to have preyed on many One might be inclined to wonder a bit at the Cabot Cove like concentration of awfulness on display here even if much of it is by referenceThematically there is a lot in here about erasure not only Bride s Richard Matheson reminiscent fairy tale reduction some of it involving what appears to be a magic razor Sweetness erasing Lula Ann as much as possible Sofia the convicted molester doing her best to erase Bride from her life as Bride had attempted to erase her guilt for what she had done and it can be no accident that Bride is the designer of cosmetics and even thinks about people in terms of how the right makeup can erase their flaws The pages are damp with mentions of precipitation It rains on Bride the day after Booker leaves Booker is rained on when he leaves a family gathering in a huff A child of a prostitute is found while on the street in the rain and rain moistens one of the most beautiful passages in the book as Booker celebrates seeing his Galatea for the first time The sun still blazed so the raindrops falling from the baby blue sky were like crystal breaking into specks of light on the pavement He decided to play his trumpet alone in the rain anyway knowing that no pedestrians would stop to listen rather they closed umbrellas as they rushed down the stairs to the trains Still in thrall to the sheer beauty of the girl he had seen he put the trumpet to his lips What emerged was music he had never played before Low muted tones held long too long as the strains floated through drops of rain There are plenty passages that ripple with poetic feeling And there are some subsidiary characters who brighten up the scene A fifty something hippie couple seemed like magical forest dwellers an epitome of innocence and goodness with maybe a touch of Tom Bombadil and even Bjorn the Berserker Booker s aunt ueen is a delight vivacious colorful and very interesting worthy of an entire book just on her alone The rescued daughter of a prostitute is fascinating as well God Help the Child is a rarity in that it is a Toni Morrison novel set in the present Her eleventh novel is a spare one at 177 pages similar in girth to Morrison s previous novels Home which weighed in a very novella like 147 pages and A Mercy another slim volume at 167 pages Not that Morrison is given to producing tomes but her books these days seem on the thin side A larger frame might have allowed her a bit space in which to give us a bit I am reminded though of Lincoln s response when asked about the proper length of a man s legs he said they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground I expect that the proper size of a Toni Morrison story is the number of pages she needs to say what she has to say She has said she is writing less in order to say A little Toni Morrison goes a long wayThe author is in her 80s now While God may have been asleep as the wheel when most of the children in this tale suffered what they suffered maybe God can help the author at something she is most definitely inclined to do keep writing until her last breath and help push that day far off into the future In this way God will also be helping the readerYou will need no assistance enjoying God Help the Child While I would not rank it with her recognized classics like Sula and Beloved even a lesser Toni Morrison book is better than most of what is out thereReview posted August 7 2015Publication date April 21 2015EXTRA STUFFMorrison s Facebook page Morrison passed in 2019 The page is maintained by KnopfInterviews GR interview by Catherine Elsworth Video interview at the 92nd Street Y NPR s Fresh Air with Terry Gross The Paris Review with Elissa SchappelReviews of other Morrison work 2011 Home 2008 A Mercy 1987 BelovedRead but not reviewed 1977 Song of Solomon 1973 Sula


10 thoughts on “God Help the Child

  1. says:

    Read this in one breath Really lovely novel about how a young woman made a desperate choice to be loved by her mother how that choice would shape her life and how she was able to overcome a mistake to become her own woman I am especially marveling at the novel's structure and how it all comes together at the end I was both surprised and satisfied by the ending This is just an excellent novel

  2. says:

    When I took a grad school class on Toni Morrison I started a pretentious I know tradition of 9 word reviews of her work Look I was young and she

  3. says:

    Everybody bow down Toni Morrison still reigns In this short novel we meet Bride A young woman who as a child testified in a court case which led to the imprisonment of an alleged child abuser Twenty years later Bride tries to make peace with the woman whom she sent to prison I'll stop there and allow you to read the rest

  4. says:

    35 stars “No matter how hard we try to ignore it the mind always knows truth and wants clarity”– Toni Morrison God Help The ChildIt took me a while to write this review mainly because I was trying to find the right words I’ve read mos

  5. says:

    No lonesome wandering child with a fishing pole passed by and glanced at the adults in the dusty gray car But if one had he or she m

  6. says:

    This novel is really not goodThe reviews have been studiously polite but have been gesturing to the deficits in the book which are considerable I say this not to discredit Toni Morrison because I love her work But the elements of thi

  7. says:

    45 Absolutely amazing Morrison can put a story together as very few can Although only a short novel so much is said so much emotional territory is covered When Sweetness a light skinned black gives birth to a blue black baby she is appalled as is her husband who uickly leaves the family Treating her daughter Lulu Ann ro

  8. says:

    Just WhatWhy did we need to shift into Brooklyn's and the falsely accused woman's perspectives Their sections were impossibly short a

  9. says:

    Toni’s passing this year was a sad moment for me I read all her books again and this is my first reading of God Help The Child It is

  10. says:

    Writing this review has shifted my rated from 3 4 stars to 5 What an eclectic book what an interesting writer This is my first foray into Toni Morrison books I listened to the audio narrated by the author She has a dreamy voice I was initially feeling a little mesmerised and sleepy but decided to enjoy the story telling by the creator it is real Her words pack a punch at every turn every statement is strong and full bod

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.