Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

After reading and very much enjoying Beloved I decided to read Toni Morrison's first novel The Bluest Eye.

The Bluest Eye is a heartbreaking read about an eleven year old black girl Pecola who believes that if she was beautiful then all her other problems will go away. This belief is quite common amongst little girls but the problem is that in Pecola's world (1960's America) the 'standard' beauty that Pecola aspires to is to have the blue eyes and beauty of Shirley Temple.

Surprisingly the novel does not focus on Pecola (who turns out to be the least developed character in the book) but instead gives a voice to some of the characters who live the community in which Pecola lives and it follows their lives up to and after the shocking events that happens to Pecola.

The characters were all troubling and thought provoking (especially Pecola's mother) and at times the narrative changes from the third person to the first in order to give a certain character a chance to speak for themselves. For such a short novel there are a lot of different events and themes but I didn't feel as though anything was irrelevant and some of the various back-stories proved to give insight to later events.

I thought the image of beauty that Pecola has in the novel an interesting one. If Pecola did have blue eyes then she would look more freaky than beautiful which just goes to illustrate how she has not found her own idea of beauty because she is unable to see it in her own world.

When I first finished this book, I did have one or two small criticisms but now I'm writing this review I honestly can't remember what they were, the overall theme and the heartbreak has stayed with me rather than the negative.

Would I recommend this? Well I think you can guess that this isn't exactly a book filled with poops and giggles and is not considered Morrison's best but overall I found it very thought provoking and I can recommend it.

For those who are interested in reading Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' I will compare the two in quick summary;

I didn't find The Bluest Eye as rewarding or as thought provoking as Morrison's Beloved (which won her the 'Pulitzer Prize') but it is a much easier read than Beloved in terms of the prose style.

Verdict 4/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I LOVED this book when I read it (about 6 years ago). It just really made you think, I thought.

  2. I picked this up at a used book store not long after I finished Mercy...but still haven't read it yet. Maybe I need to fast track it a bit.

  3. I devoured Toni Morrison whilst in college. The unfortunate thing is, when I read so many books by the same author one after another, I am enable to distinguish one from the other.

  4. Thanks for the review. I really must read something by this author soon. Her works sound heartbreaking but wonderful.

  5. I picked this up at a library sale last summer, and now I'm even more excited about it. Can't believe I've never read Morrison... that will change soon!

  6. I read this quite a few years ago and remember it just breaking my heart. The details are blurry, but I remember the major plot points and I was so heartbroken for the horrible situation the little girl was in.

  7. Bibliophile By the Sea - I was pondering over bits of it today actually, it would make a great book club choice.

    Gerbera Daisy Mom - If it helps I did find it quite a fast read as it was quite a short book, Beloved took me ages to read.

    christina - LOL yeah I guess that can happen, esp when the novels have similar themes.

    Amy - heartbreaking is the word!

    JoAnn - you were lucky to pick up such a bargin! I hope you enjoy it(if thats the right word for it.

    Avid Reader - she had the worst wrost life that no one should ever have didn't she? I like the angle that Morrison came at it though.

  8. I recently reread this book. I love it. I haven't read any other of Morrison's works, but will definitely have to now.