The Bluest Eye

Review From User :

Toni Morrison doesn't get the respect she deserves and has rightfully earned. I think that part of this has to do with the unfortunate connotations people have regarding Oprah's Book Club and part of it stems from, if not outright racism and misogyny, than the racist and misogynist assumptions that Morrison is popular only because she is a nonwhite woman, liberal guilt etc. The latter is false: Toni Morrison has won the Pulitzer and the Nobel because she is an excellent author.

N.B. - Before I get jumped on by total strangers for making assumptions about Morrison's detractors, these are actual comments about her books, from Amazon.com:

"Toni Morrison is the most overrated author in America, it's only because of Oprah (the most overrated "personality" in America") that she is popular."

"You know, I know blacks have had a hard time in this world...I'm not naive...but there's a right and wrong way to tell us about your problems. This book is an example of the wrong way. To me it came off as preachy and heavy-handed."

"Once again, Toni Morrison puts an assortment of diatribes and racial angst into book form and masquerades it as literature with a moral message."

"What is actually between the covers of the book is 150 pages of the gross aspects of sex and femine hygene. That is not what makes brillant writing."

"The Bluest Eye does not celebrate the beauty of the black individual but instead simply and grotesquely trashes white characteristics (i.e. blonde-straight hair/blue eyes.) So if a little blonde-haired blue-eyed girl reads this book is she supposed to feel ashamed to have these characteristics"

"I think it's terrible that Oprah Winfrey would recommend a book as anti-white as this. It's not as bad as some "black" literature that blames everything on white people, but it's close."

It's foolish to assume that the thoughts and experiences of women and of nonwhite American citizens is not worthy of writing about, and reviewers that slam the book as "anti-white" completely miss the point of themes of cultural hegemony, internalized hatred, taboos in beauty and sexuality, oppression, etc. And it's just darned lazy to discount this book's beautiful use of multiple narratives and excellent turns of phrase.

Morrison's literature often makes me angry and depressed, but not as angry and depressed as some of the reviews it gets.


The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

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