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1001 Book Review: The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison



Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye was my favorite read of January and my first 5-star read of 2016. Find out why and let us know what you thought of the book.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Published in: 1979
Literary Awards: National Book Critics Circle Award
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: The Bluest Eye

Synopsis from Good Reads: The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.

What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction

Book Worm’s Review: This is a really tough book to rate as it deals with child abuse and a young girl’s perception about what it means to be black in a world where everyone is telling you that white is superior.

The storyline is hard hitting, heart breaking, and inevitably tragic.  Yet despite all the tragedy the novel has  moments of fun, hints of hope, and the constantly strong voice of the narrator who questions convention.

I gave this 5 stars not for enjoyment but because this is so beautifully written. The language is poetic and unlike other 1001 novels, the abuse is not focused on in a way that makes reading unbearable.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“Along with the idea of romantic love , she was introduced to another – physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity and ended in disillusion”

“He wanted to break her neck – but tenderly. Guilt and impotence rose in a bilious duet. What could he do for her – ever? What give her? What say to her? What could a burned – out black man say to the hunched back of his eleven year old daughter?”

“He thought it was at once the most fantastic and the most logical petition he had ever received. Here was an ugly little girl asking for beauty”

“Tell me, Lord, how could you leave a lass so long so lone that she could find her way to me?”

“I felt a need for someone to want the black baby to live – just to counteract the universal love of white baby dolls, Shirley Temples and Maureen Peals”

I highly recommend this book. Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Bluest Eye

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read others by Toni Morrison?

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is one of my favorite books. Like you said, not because it’s an enjoyable read but because it’s a NECESSARY one. Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors period.


    February 2, 2016
  2. Beautiful and so heartbreaking. Its a book that stays with you.


    February 2, 2016
  3. I have had two heavy books in a row, but at some point I might try this. I like the idea of the difficult idea of abuse being conveyed in a deep and moving way, but without being sensationalist or over the top.


    February 2, 2016
    • Book Worm #

      Denise this is nothing like A Little Life in terms of the abuse, its more subtle and matter of fact not descriptions of what actually takes place. This is definitely a worthwhile book to read.


      February 5, 2016
  4. Gwen #

    This was my first of her books, and I thought Beloved was even more stunning. She actually has a children’s book called Remember: The Journey to School Integration that I really love—it’s nonfiction, full of huge, beautiful photographs, and of course the writing is fantastic.


    February 2, 2016
  5. Tracy S #

    I read this a long time ago, but remember loving it, as I have everything I’ve read by her. Song of Solomon is still my favorite, but you can’t go wrong with Toni Morrison!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 2, 2016
    • me too –read it a while ago and Song of Solomon is my all time favorite of hers.


      February 4, 2016

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