Books Magazine

Paradise by Toni Morrison

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

Well I was trying not to use books I have to read for class as reviewed books, but with student teaching well under way it’s getting harder to finish a book a week (if I hadn’t had a good week where I got about 3 weeks ahead with posts I probably wouldn’t be anywhere near close to keeping up with my goal).  So I’ve caved and decided my books for school will take up Friday slots as well as books I read for fun.  Not that this makes any difference to you, readers, as a book is a book.

Paradise by Toni Morrison
I really enjoy Toni Morrison, so when this book was assigned it was more of an excuse to read more of her work than an assignment.  The only other novel of her I’ve read in full is “The Bluest Eye” which I have to admit was a lot easier to follow than “Paradise”.  Although of the two I think “Paradise” is the better book.  Something about “Paradise” really gets under your skin.  I’m not sure what it is, but this is a novel that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last chapter.  I admit I did rush through the last few chapters to get it finished in the assigned time (we had about a week and a half to finish it) but even then it didn’t fail to have an effect on me.

Once again Toni Morrison has delivered a great novel. Her detailed, lyrical prose makes this book read almost like poetry. It is truly beautiful and disturbing. Then again what can you expect from a book with the unforgettable opening line of “They kill the white girl first.” From this point on you know you’re going to be in for something more than just an average story. I will warn any perspective readers, while the prose flows as you read it the plot is confusing. The story switches view points and time quite frequently and while this adds to the story’s appeal it does make it difficult to follow. I would suggest reading this book with a pen and paper handy, start drawing some family trees or at least a character list. I had to keep character names on my bookmark just to make sure I knew who was who and how they were all related. Once you have your system down for keeping track of who’s who (or you could just be better with keeping track than me and not need an aid) you’re in for a truly wonderful read. Morrison deals with both racism and colorism in such an easy manner you hardly know she’s doing anything but telling a story. That’s the beauty of Morrison’s work. She weaves her message into the larger picture of the story and lets you walk away to think about things on your own.

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