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The Bluest Eye (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – April 26, 2000
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Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:
You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.
This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pin too much of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which gives The Bluest Eye the sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
People say "Oh, it's a powerful story about racism and false ideas of beauty etc." But IMO, there are so many BETTER stories about those themes that DON'T make me want to scrub my eyeballs after reading them. For example, "The Skin I'm In" - that book is about a black girl teased and bullied by her classmates (also black) just because her skin is darker than theirs. Like "The Bluest Eye," "The Skin I'm In" shows how black kids living in poverty in a white society can develop a self-loathing feeling that whiter is prettier - but unlike this book, that one has an admirable protagonist who's able to rise above adversity, and has a sense of hope. Or "Push" by Sapphire (the book that the movie "Precious" was based on) - that protagonist, like Pecola, was raped and impregnated by her father and had a hateful mother and a horrible life, but then had the opportunity for education, which gave her strength and self-worth. It's an inspiring and uplifting book, despite the protagonlist's grim life. Or how about "The Color Purple"? I could go on and on.
The difference between those books and "The Bluest Eye" is that those books all have hope in them, whereas "The Bluest Eye" is unrelentingly grim and horrible with no hope at all. Why would I want to read a book like that?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read the intro to have a little bit of the authors insight as you read. Guaranteed to make you introspect.Published 12 days ago by Danielle
Talk about word play! "The Bluest Eye" not only refers to the blue eyes that Pecola desires, but also the "blue" or sadness that she experiences as a young, poor,... Read morePublished 29 days ago by mecbev
Since I did not read this book all in one sitting, I found it disjointed and not even very interesting. There did not even seem to be a 'plot'. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
No doubt the use of a splendid language with unthought metaphores make the book readable.Published 1 month ago by ana maria
Loved everything about this book. It addresses issues that everyone should consider. And I think it's essential reading for fathers, especially those of minority children. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer