I basically inhaled Toni Morrison’s new novel God Help the Child because it left me breathless. It’s a short novel, but it is so rich in everything: Language, narrative perspectives, themes, settings, characters. The prose is poetic, not as in lovely-beautiful but as in dense with emotional and intellectual heft. Characters and themes are true Morrison: Racism, colorism, lives of Black women, violence, abuse, love, hurt.
Particularly the main character, Bride, and her mother Sweetness are both modern and timeless. Their story is not only one of racism and colorism (the main character is “blue black”) but also of abuse, adolescence, growing up, woman- and motherhood. Bride answers the resentment towards her based on her skin with power based her beauty.
Morrison manages to tell so many stories of fleshed out characters, with so few words. Even the conception of characters makes an interesting statement – I believe the darker the skin tone of a character, the richer the qualities and flaws of the character. If I listed all stories told you’d never believe they’re all found within 178 pages. But Morrison makes it work, by not using one superfluous word. A truly amazing book.