Sunday, July 31, 2016

Teen review: The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Realistic adult fiction, stand-alone novel
Recommended for high school age and above

Reviewed by L. K., grade 11

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, records the life of young Pecola Breedlove. Pecola finds herself almost cursed in many ways: She lacks society's construction of beauty, she lacks a loving and supportive family, and she lacks any benefits of racial supremacy, for she is African American in a white society. The most disastrous part of these qualities? None of them are under her control, and it would seem that her life follows that same pattern. As if to further show that Pecola's voice is never heard, her own story is not from her perspective, but from Pecola's sort-of-friend Claudia.

Since the story is so devastating, it is almost a relief to find that it is a work of fiction. Almost. Because, although Pecola Breedlove did not have to actually suffer through this, there is a chance that somebody in a similar situation actually did exist in these circumstances, and that is a truth that cannot be overlooked when reading novels such as this one. It is for this reason that I recommend the 206-page novel to seventh graders and up. This novel is not part of a series, but Toni Morrison is known for her writings on African American civil rights and events, such as her novel Beloved, if you are looking for something similar.

Going into the book, I thought, "Hey, a nice short summer read that I've heard all good things about." After actually reading the novel, though, I can only agree with part of that statement. Yes, the story is good, and I would rate it a solid 4 out of 5. However, it is no walk in the park, my friends. It is a story of woe, and each page is dripping with pain and tension and draws sympathy for all these characters, including the multiple antagonists. The world Morrison paints is engaging and real, because it was real. The knowledge that some events in the novel were uncommon but not impossible is a powerful knowledge, and reading this novel will broaden your horizons both in the reading world and the world in which we exist. The Bluest Eye truly describes the events it would take to break a person, to paraphrase Toni Morrison's words. And it was horrifically beautiful.

Editor's note: We would probably recommend this more for high school (9th grade and up), unless you are an extremely precocious reader, due to its mature themes. We agree that this book is both beautiful and devastating. This was Toni Morrison's first novel, and she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 for her writings--the last American to do so.







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