Written by @PresidentELLA
God Help the Child is Toni Morrison’s twelfth fiction work and still, she is (HANDS DOWN) my favorite author because of the way she can deliver one story from so many perspectives. Her mastery of language and knowing exactly what to say to make you feel is beyond schooling — it’s magic. The most powerful thing about the beauty of Morrison’s prose is how wonderfully she describes the disturbing and painful experiences her characters go through.
Lula Mae changed her name to “Bride” and for a reason not to different from why her mother made her call her “Sweetness” instead of “Mom” or “Momma”. Sweetness describes the black and blue tone of Bride’s skin with a fear we never hear anyone else describe. Yes, this is another one of Morrison’s novel’s wrapped beautifully in racism the way Bride only wear white when she grows up — she’s a rich lady working for a cosmetics company now. But no matter how beautiful and successful Bride is, we she her chase happiness, love and acceptance from strangers, all because she couldn’t get that love and affection at home. At the beginning of the book, we witness her boyfriend walk out and leave her and we have no idea why — Lulu Mae doesn’t even know… but he’s going through the same thing: Demons from childhood.
The few chapters where we hear from Sweetness, Lulu Mae’s mom, we hear the pain in her voice (the regret) but we also hear her defend herself. Apologies are only but so strong when you keep defending why you did what you did… and that’s why Lulu Mae still never visits… It was heart-wrenching to read this tale of parent’s betrayal without taking account of the trails and tribulations in one’s one life. When I finished the book, I found a Mother’s Day card I didn’t send last year and you better believe it’s in the mail. I love that this book not only spoke to the issue of race, but also the greater idea of family and the parent/child relationship.
While all of Morrison’s books teach life lessons, I especially liked that this one was set in present time — most of her books are in the 40s, 50s… this one was set in present day California. And it was a quick read (under 200 pages) so the chapters were short and blunt. This book is great for a trip out of town or day at the beach (but bring tissue).
Hope you have a chance to pick this one up.
Read you books, keep your spirits fly 😉