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.
Editors Select, April 2015 - Let my bias be known: I love Toni Morrison. Being a super fan, I approached God Help the Child with both high expectations and some apprehension. Bride, the main character, is a modern-day woman: almost a cliché of the fashionable and self-absorbed business woman. But under that not-very-interesting surface is a rich, and disturbing, undercurrent. Bride, and the other characters that enter the story, have suffered unspeakable abuse. Morrison uses her magical way of showing where (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) the effects of that abuse lives in each of them. Both modern and timeless, God Help the Child is a short, brilliant work – I cannot wait to listen the author put her voice to this story by narrating. Tricia, Audible Editor
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You're a better human for listening
Yes, I would listen again, but not for a long time. There is a lot happening here that I need to think on before I can revisit the book.
I compare the Grand Madame Toni Morrison to no one. But if you like her other works, or James Baldwin, then this might be a good choice for you.
I have listened to several other Toni Morrison books. I enjoyed every performance, but I think this was her best.
This books was a journey through perpetual sadness and how adults are coping with these great deficiencies of childhood. There are moments of kindness and genuine tender emotion and that helps soften the sadness.
This book isn't for the faint of heart. Listen with love. This is a work of fiction, but it is grounded in reality. It is a great story and one that will stay with you. It's worth the time.
Not her finest . . .
I am a HUGE Toni Morrison fan but I thought this book was not her finest. It had some good points, but the ending was weird and implausible.
The least interesting was the central character, Bride. I found the other characters--Booker, Queenie, etc. much more interesting.
She was a little raspy and difficult to hear at times.
If this is your first Toni Morrison book, start with Beloved, Song of Solomon, A Mercy, or The Bluest Eye. They all brilliant books, in my opinion. I also like Paradise and Jazz. But this book, as I said above, is not her finest.