“It was as though one day she saw red baby blood, another day the pink gravestone chips, and that was the last of it.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 324

Published: 16th September, 1987

Rate: 4.5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present.
Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature.

My Take

“124 WAS SPITEFUL. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.” Now that is how you start a book! When I read that opening line I knew I was in for a wild ride. And you would think that after having read 4 Toni Morrison books by that time I would be prepared. Reader, I was not ready!

Beloved took me on a wild, mad, brilliant, scary, heartbreaking, thrilling ride. I didn’t know if I should scream or cry. Toni Morrison’s writing in Beloved is so masterful and skillful. Each sentence is written with intention, but mostly I found it evocative. The descriptions are so vivid that it made the reading experience so immersive.

Beloved plot line follows the devastation brought about by slavery. There are aspects of magical realism that Toni Morrison uses throughout the book. One thing I absolutely was in awe of is how Toni Morrison explores the complexity of sadness. My goodness, talk about brilliant!

“Nothing was out there that this sister-girl did not provide in abundance: a racing heart, dreaminess, society, danger, beauty.”

Beloved is more of a character based book and in true Toni Morrison fashion, she gave us so many characters. It can be difficult to keep up with all of them but if you are like me, creating a family tree really helps. Honestly, I can’t decide if I love Sethe more, or is it Beloved, sometimes it’s 124 and on a good day it’s Baby Sugg. Now to understand why these characters are the most memorable, you need to read the book. Besides being well written with great character development, they stand out the most with their distinct personalities.

I truly loved and enjoyed reading Beloved. It was such an immersive, emotive read that I highly, highly recommend. Beloved is Toni Morrison’s best loved and most known book and after reading it, I can see why.

I read the book as part of the ReadingToni Challenge and you can read my thoughts on the books. The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon,  and Tar Baby.

Have you read Beloved? What did you think about it?