God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
3 words: complex, unsettling, layered
You know how some books improve after you’ve read them?
This is one of those.
As I was reading, I was reasonably engaged with the story and the characters. But when I finished the book… wow.
It became something altogether better.
The flavors all melded. The storylines converged. The layers lined up (though not too neatly).
This is also a book that surprised me, because I thought I knew where it was going–a story of a woman and her mother. But then it took some unexpected turns — not in the “Oh my gosh, what a plot twist!” way, but in a way that was more like real life, where the story unfolds in ways we just don’t expect.
This is the story of a woman who names herself Bride, who dresses all in white to set off her blue-black skin. And it’s the story of the mother who was ashamed of her. And the man who abandons her. And the friend who might not be a friend to her.
And then there are hippies living off the grid, and a woman torching bedsprings, and all of these things make sense.
I listened to the audiobook, which Toni Morrison reads herself. Her voice is quiet and expressive, but in a mild way. She lets her words do the work, and her voice is just the vehicle. It works just right.
Give this book a whirl if you like… literary fiction, multiple narrators, hints of magical realism, and a story that’ll keep you thinking long after the reading is done.
So, readers… What’s a book that improved after you read it?