Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved is one of those books that you (or at least I) always hear about. As a really good book, one that changes your lives and such. I think I first heard of it in How To Read Literature Like A Professor, where the whole metaphor of the four horseman of the Apocalypse was discussed. So really, it sounded like a really fantastic book and I was so thrilled to find it at BookOff.
And to be sure, the book has really beautiful language. Sometimes, the prose feels like poetry. Reading it is just, wonderful. I think you could probably just turn to any page in this book and find a quote that you want to remember forever.
But somehow, I didn't connect with this book. I didn't connect with the characters and I didn't connect with the plot.
If we're talking about plot, I understood the plot. In the end. But there were long frustrating stretches where I was very lost about what was going on. Sometimes, being lost can be fun but here, it just made me really frustrated. I could understand the past, as it was revealed in bits and pieces, but when I was introduced to Beloved, I got so confused. I actually had to refer to Wikipedia to understand what was going on.... I get that there's supposed to be ambiguity, but I really do wish that there was less ambiguity.
Characters, characters. Well, Denver was my favourite character and Paul D was my least favourite. I liked Denver because she was sensible and because she grew throughout the novel. I didn't like Paul D because he was mistaken about Denver (why does he call her slow-witted?) and because, well, just because. I'm pretty much neutral about Sethe and Beloved.
In short, this book was pretty average for me. I liked it, but I didn't feel any strong emotions about it and I definitely wasn't changed by the book. Perhaps it's because my expectations were so high, but I wanted to laugh and cry and live another life reading this book.
Personally, I prefer I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. It's an autobiography, but it's really moving and well, I (perhaps wrongly) expected Beloved to touch me in the same way.