Review: Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

“One of the worst things about being old is eating. First you have to find something you can eat and second you have to try not to drop it all over yourself.”

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 320

Published: March 12th,1981

Rate: 2.5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison’s reinvention of the love story. Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.

My Take

I have struggled with writing this review because mostly I did not like this book and I have been trying to find a way to communicate that in a way that makes sense. I have to say Toni Morrison is a great writer and masterful storyteller. As I write this now I have read 6 books by her and one thing is for sure, Toni Morrison is a brilliant, albeit a little mad, author.

Tar Baby has a great and powerful sense of place. Set in the Caribbean, the vivid descriptions made the book come alive and possibly the only good thing about the book.

For if he loved and lost this woman whose sleeping face was the limit his eyes could safely behold and whose wakened face threw him into confusion, he would surely lose the world.”

I struggled with reading Tar Baby. The writing felt too wordy for lack of a better word. The smallest and easiest of things to say were said in big words that just tired me. I was bored all throughout the book. The story and the characters are not memorable at all. They are actually exhausting.

Tar Baby has too many story lines that felt disjointed. I couldn’t keep up with all these plot holes that made zero sense.

I wouldn’t recommend Tar Baby, if asked. You are not missing out on much if you haven’t read it. And if you have, what did you think about it?

4 thoughts on “Review: Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

  1. I have endured this book. I struggled to read it in a day because I didn’t want to agonise over it the next day.
    I don’t know what Toni Morrison was trying to achieve with Ondine, Janine and Nanadine, and by titling the book Tar Baby. At page 100,I still had no idea what the book was about.That is where I thought the story should have ended.

    1. This book was basically maddening in a nutshell. I think it’s one I came to appreciate long after I read it because like you, I didn’t get what I was reading. Plus I think it was unnecessary long. Some parts could have been edited out

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