Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Out of Human Bondage Into Emotional Bondage (Slavery)

by Toni Morrison is about a woman who escapes slavery to the free state of Ohio where she settles into her mother-in-law’s house with her kids to try and start a new life. The book slowly reveals Sethe’s horrifying journey out of human bondage into an emotional bondage. 

The story enthrallingly dissolves in and out of the past and present offering readers glimpses of wholly tragic situations.  It begins in the middle when Sethe’s mother-in-law dies shortly after her two boys run away.  This leaves Sethe alone with her daughter, Denver, and the spirit of her dead baby, Beloved. Beloved is an oppressive reminder of the meaning of freedom and eventually manifests herself in a human form to reveal the haunting truth behind her death.

I’ve read a couple other moving novels about slavery, but nothing like this.  This book unfolds vivid, raw descriptions of unimaginable horrors—atrocious acts committed by one human against another.  I can see why this won a Pulitzer prize.  It’s hauntingly unforgettable:  the chokecherry tree, the chain gain, and mostly Beloved. The circumstance of Beloved’s death is also based on a true event, which makes it all the more wrenching.


This is not a book to be read for enjoyment.  It’s about enlightenment.

This book met several of my 2015 Book Challenges:   Read a Pulitzer-prize winning book; Read a book set in the 1800s; Read a classic book from “Kicking It with the Classics”; Read a book from “The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge” list. 

For other enlightening books that transcend the color of skin and expose unforgettable human injustices, consider the following memoirs and biographies:



Left to Tell by Immacculée Ilibagiza

Modern-Day Slavery:

Slave by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis

Boy Soldiers:
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

These books remind us that regardless of race or religion, we are all the same.  We are humans—humans who are sometimes tragically conditioned to hate.


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