Published April 2015 by Knopf|178 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: Adult Literary Fiction
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.
At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.
When I heard that Toni Morrison was coming out with a new book, I was really excited, because I’ve read a couple of her other books this year, and I knew I had to read it!
It’s not my favorite Morrison novel, and of the ones I’ve read, I think it’s probably my least favorite of the ones I’ve read. I mean, I loved the writing itself, and the way she told the story- it’s very much her, and it’s why I keep reading Morrison.
What I think I liked most was how what happened to us as children has a huge impact on who we are as adults, and you can see that with both Bride and Booker, and you can’t help but wonder how Rain’s life will impact her as an adult. I really wish we saw more chapters with Sweetness, Bride’s mom. There wasn’t a lot to her character (for me), and it would have been interesting to see more from her perspective. You get it well enough, that she she was surprised by how dark her daughter’s skin was (which actually reminded me of The Bluest Eye initially) and how hard it was for her, but I really wanted more from it than what we got.
Overall, the story didn’t completely work for me, and I’m really at a loss to explain why. For some reason, it felt like it didn’t have something that was there in the other books I’ve read by her- almost like something is missing. I really wish I could pin-point it, but I can’t.
3 stars. I don’t have a lot to say about God Help The Child, but I did like it, and Morrison’s writing is pretty awesome.