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245 of 261 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Bluest Eye, the story of a young girl's tortured life, is not a story you can "like". It reads like your worst nightmares, very disturbing and very graphic. It takes a strong stomach to get through this novel. But, this is just what makes the book a masterpiece, that Ms Morrison can draw such powerful feelings from readers. Toni Morrison has grown as a writer. But this book, her first, takes you to a world most didn't know existed and evokes almost unbearably strong emotions. A must read for lovers of great literature. This is not a book you read for pleasure. It's a book you read for the power of the written word.
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162 of 173 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I will admit to some apprehension prior to picking up this book. I had heard that Toni Morrison, although a brilliant author, is a little hard to understand. And there's nothing I hate more than wading through a book full of abstract poetic descriptions and thick symbolism that goes right over my head. Despite all this, I pulled up my bootstraps and dived right in. What was to follow was quite a surprise.
The Bluest Eye tell the story of the Breedloves, a poor black family living in Lorain, Ohio in the early 1940s. Each chapter tells something different -- the journey of the dad, Cholly, from curious young boy to a drunk and unloving father; the history of the mother, Pauline, and her dreams of movie stars and romance; and the childhood of the children, Sammy and Pecola, and how they deal with life as they've been given. Full of hardships and unfairness, the Breedloves have been through tough times most of their lives. And young Pecola's wishes of blue eyes and blonde hair in order to be loved and respected by others is a testament to the unjust world they lived in.
My fear is that this review won't do the book justice. There is so much written here that left me with feelings of sadness and horror, but also of hope -- hope that our world now has moved on from the racism of the past and will eventually surpass it. The Bluest Eye is highly moving and sensitive, and written in an addictive easy and lyrical style. I may have missed an important part of the book, any underlying symbolism or meaning that Toni Morrison was trying to convey -- I don't know. All I do know is The Bluest Eye is a darn good story, and I'm extremely glad I read it.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like all of Morrison's work, Bluest Eye is beautifully crafted. It follows a more clearly linear path than most of her more recent writings. But (as is appropriate for its subject matter) it doesn't have the sense of redemption or spiritual uplift that graces much of her other books, especially Song of Solomon. Read it, learn from it and appreciate it, but don't count on it to cheer you up.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like many of you, I to read Toni Morrison's Song of Solomn first. After reading this one I wanted to find out more about her. So my boss gave me The Bluest Eye. I'm not an avid reader, but I read it in a couple of days.
It's a very sad and hauting story of the destruction of a little black girls spirit and soul. She longed to have blue eyes or anything that would bring about love and attention that she so desperately wanted. Yet society and even her mother could not love her unless she had these "Blue Eyes".
The theme of this book touches on so many social issues. From self loathing and hatred of being born black in a white world to the effects of child abuse from both parents. Many people may not aggree with me that the mother also abused her child, but she did. She allowed herself to become so wrapped up with taking care of a little blue eyed child that she has nothing left for her own family when she comes home. Her words are always harsh and scolding to Pecola. Never soothing and loving. She has left her poor Pecola to fend against the world for herself. And when Pecola needs her mother's help the most it's not there.
I think every mother should read this book. Step away from the characters and see the destruction of a child from lack of love and acceptance. You will remember Pecola's journey forever!
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87 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was assigned this book nine years ago during a women's literature class. The story moved me in ways that I can't explain. I grew up in a solidly middle class (primarily white) community, and Toni Morrison introduced me to a little girl who was simply foreign. I was haunted by The Bluest Eye. Bits and pieces of the story would come to mind at odd times over the next year or so, until finally I decided to visit the small town in Ohio where The Bluest Eye is based. So, about 7 years ago, I made that trip. Now each time that I re-read the book (probably twenty times over the past nine years) I have a very solid picture in my mind of where this story unfolds. I remember when Oprah first chose a Toni Morrison book for her club -- I believe it was Song of Solomon. I said at that time (and actually noted it in my Amazon.com review) that she should introduce America to the Bluest Eye. Thank you, Oprah.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I so wanted to love this book. Oprah spoke of it in a way that I could not wait to read it. I started it a day that I was alone and I had the entire day to relish it. I must say I was disappointed and confused. I felt that the book told of too many characters and not all of them connected to Pecola. The character Soaphead Church disgusted me and I see no need for him in the story. I wanted to feel her desire for "blue eyes" but it seemed to just be grazed over. I was touched by the lives of these little girls but I was not moved by the story. I felt that there was alot of the story missing and I was yearning for it by the end of the book. I felt left hanging and sad with many questions unanswered.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read "The Bluest Eye" after I finished "Song of Solomon." As soon as I finished the last page of "The Bluest Eye", I flipped to the beginning and reread it. I was inspired by the strength of Pecole Breedlove and could identify with the need to "fit in" that society places on everyone - regardless of race. I commend Oprah's selection of another of Toni Morrison's classics.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Toni Morrison's `The Bluest Eye' originally published in 1970, is her first novel. It displays an abundance of talents of a great writer who later (1993) won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The novel is set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941. It is the story of 11 year old girl, Pecola Breedlove. This is a powerful story which draws from several themes such as historical memory, racial hatred and several other important themes. Pecola who is a black girl and attracted to blond, blue-eyed children and prays for her eyes to turn blue like the children she adores. The journey of Pecola 's agony is powerfully portrayed and crafted aesthetically.
It is a poetical examination into the beauty of logic and irrationality behind an American family and how and why this innate beauty gets wasted and overlooked in the World's most democratic society.
It is not just a story of Pecola Breedlove, a young black American kid. You may find similar characters all over the world. I have heard stories similar to Pecola in many countries where I have lived including Australia!
No wonder why it is a best seller and resurfaced again winning the attention of thousands and thousands of readers. It may be the reason why it was selected for Oprah's book club in April 2000.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised at the hostility towards Morrison's first novel. I've read and taught almost all her later novels (Song of Solomon, Sula, Beloved) which are much better, but it's worth reading the Bluest Eye to see where Morrison has come from and where she was going. In fact, it's one of the more interesting projects for any author/s: read their later masterpieces and then go back and read their very first published work. One can at least see the power of her writing and her vivid descriptions which come back in a much more mature form in Beloved. Morrison has grown a lot since 1970, and if you read her own feelings about the novel (posted in the critical reviews), you'll see that she herself would probably only give 2-3 stars to this book. Still, as an early novella and certainly her most accessible book, read it as an introduction to her later and better works.
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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There is a problem with this book: the cover shows the portrait of a young African-American girl. Assuming this is a representation of the protagonist, the reader is immediately at a loss. The reader forms, whether he or she wants to or not, a mental picture (or, at least an outline) of the main character simply by looking at the front.
One of the most important elements to this marvellous work is that we are never allowed a full glimpse of the young girl. She is described, and given a voice, from the narrator, and those that are around her -- but never afforded her own. And it is here that we begin to understand the meaning of the title, "The Bluest Eye."
I believe that I was fortunate to buy this book in the European market; the cover only contains the image of blue marbles -- there is no face, nor should there be. For this is the story of the loss of identity, the futile attempt to perceive from others' perspectives, the dying of a culture and heritage, and the hope that something good can be found when it's very hard to see.
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