The first time I read this book, it was for AP Literature in my senior year of high school. So, like, four years ago now. It was the hardest book we read, emotionally and literature wise, yet also the most satisfying. Now, I’m going to call it beautiful. Because it is a beautiful book on so many levels. Yet, I’m going to have to describe it and everyone’s going to be horrified by me.
In an easy summary, this book is about the inhabitants of a house haunted by a vengeful murdered baby. Then, things start coming back. Past and present merge in a beautiful story of memory as the women come together. You can’t escape your memories, but remembering is dangerous.
Sethe is a woman who fought for her life. She was a slave who had something horrible happen to her, then ran away, sending her children ahead of her, pregnant with one after a terrible beating, and then left her husband behind to never see him again. Then, after getting to freedom, they come back and she commits a crime that will forever mark her as apart and other.
It’s a very sad book. I remember the first time I read this, how much I hurt and felt and was horrified by the things in it. Yet, it’s such a beautiful story that I was compelled to finish it and to see what the end was. It’s also an extremely hard book to understand because of how artfully Morrison weaves the narratives together and blends past with the present. It’s definitely a book I’d suggest to anyone and everyone.