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Book Name: The Bluest Eye

Author: Toni Morrison

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Overall Rating: (4.1/5) View all reviews (total 61 reviews)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 2000:Originally published in 1970,The Bluest Eyeis Toni Morrison's first novel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the author expressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure: "It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalk up this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly high standards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if not sophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetorical sweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjects that would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historical memory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself.Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941,The Bluest Eyeis something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pintoomuch of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which givesThe Bluest Eyethe sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one.--James Marcus--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



by A. Vegan

I didn't like this book at all. I found it difficult to read because of the way some of the characters spoke. The author writes in many different points of view and I could never figure out who was talking at that point. I don't think that this book deserves half the praise it received.

Sure to bring strong feelings to the surface!

by Bernadette A. Moyer

The book is deep and thought provoking. YOU WILL FEEL! This is one of the shorter titles from Oprah's bookclub but certainly not a light read. I am not a black woman but I am a woman, I do not want to think of how it had to feel and be for black women. Sometimes truth is so hard to take in not because we do not believe it but rather because we do not want to accept it. This is a powerful and important story. Sometimes I feel I have read enough of the black history and do not want to hear yet another story but this book was more than that. What drives us all to our heart and to our most inner place is universal. VERY WELL written and a must read!

Sad, Disturbing and Unforgettable

by Busy Mom

I read this book in honor of September's Banned Books discussion that my book club is having. This book has been banned in several places because of its contents, for various reasons. I had thought I read this book way back when in high school ~~ but whatever I read then didn't compare to this book. This book is totally unforgettable and tragic.This is not just one story. This is a collection of stories of different people in different times of their lives and their stories lead up to the tragedy of poor little Pecola Breedlove, an ugly girl (I suspect that is a metaphor that Morrison is trying to say about the ugliness of poverty and racial tensions) who is not loved. The stories are of her father as a youngster; of her mother who was a totally different person who married for love only to be brow-beaten by poverty; of people around Pecola, and about two sisters who tried to befriend her but got swept away by circumstances created by the adults in their lives. This is a novel that depicts humanity at its worst. This is of a time before civil rights were fought for ~~ perhaps dreamed of but it hasn't been swept to the point where people are actually standing up and taking note of it. This is a story about poverty and how it dehumanizes the characters. This is a story about neglect. Pecola is set in the center of the storm that she has not created herself but is too young to resist and too ignorant to ignore.This is an eye-opener of a novel because even during my "poorest" days as a student, I never had to worry about finding enough to eat. Pecola is not a sheltered nor were any of the characters coddled (except for Mrs. Breedlove's charge in that fancy house that she's the cook at). Yes, there are crude moments in the book but for some reason, it just emphasized the poverty of the people's lives. Yes, there is rape. That is the tragedy. But it was not explicit like a lot of the soft-porn novels floating around out there. It is a very sad and tragic book ~~ a disturbing look into reality portrayed in a time that I don't know of.Would I recommend this book to anyone? Yes. Would I "love" this book? No. There is nothing lovable about this book ~~ there's no happy endings. It really should not be portrayed as a novel because most fiction ends with a happy ending ~~ not this one. And this book would definitely provoke thoughtful conversations among friends.9-11-07

An important book

by Catfish_Hunter

Pecola is not in the book as much as you'd think based on Oprah's discussion. The structure is odd (even Morrison talks of being dissatisfied with the way she wrote certain things.) But this book is incredibly powerful in its messages not only on race and sex and power but on what horrific damage we do to each other and our children by not honoring the beauty in us all. I, too, have been getting turned off of Oprah's recent selections because of what seems to be a running theme of abuse and betrayal, but Oprah was right about this one. If everyone read it, it WOULD change the world. PS: Morrison's use of language is stunningly beautiful. And don't skip the afterward. Her eloquence will blow you away.

A Collection Must Have

by C. Cooper

The Bluest Eye is a great book with subject matter that will forever be pertinent to mankind. Poetically written, Morrison's story eloquently shows how negative values are only true when we ourselves validate them. A Must Have for any library. Now and forever.

Intriguing and not quite what I expected

by Charlene

Like my title says, The Bluest Eye was not quite what I expected. I read this book for my AP Lit class during the summer and when I skimmed the summary, I thought it might be a lighthearted book, but I was wrong. Before my Lit class, I'd never heard of Morrison or read any of her books, therefore I didn't know that she was a great and powerful writer- whose stories deal with various issues. The Bluest Eye, was no exception.The book was confusing to read at first, since it switches point of views, at at some parts, readers aren't sure who is narrating or whose story is being told. Pecola is a sad character and I feel highly sympathetic for her as she is abused and eventually goes mad. It is the obsession of bluest eyes that drive Pecola to her desperate need for beauty in the terms of bluest eyes (whiteness).The insight into the lives of little girls shows that adults do take advantage of children and in their authority, forget that they are dealing with precious beings that are dependent on them, such abuse spirals and repeats itself-- sins of Cholly's father repeats in Cholly, as he abuses his family.Very powerful book but definitely not something you should expect a HEA from.

In every city

by Charles Slovenski

In an amazingly academic afterward, Toni Morrison discusses the writing in THE BLUEST EYE and analyzes her goals, where she achieved them and where she did not. If I understand her correctly, she wanted the reader to participate in Pecola's process of self-discovery (or lack of) and learn that every witness is responsible for destroying the life and oppressing the feelings of this child. She claims to have not acheived this, that "readers were touched, but not moved." I'm not sure of the real difference in being one or the other but I suspect she meant that the readers were "not moved" to change. Toni Morrison asks a great deal of herself if she feels she was unsuccessful with THE BLUEST EYE. I was astounded by its poetry, its revelations, its pain and its deep wisdom. If ever a book was wise, this is the one.In terms of structure, this book is a masterpiece. Told from the point of view of two young black sisters (who are poor but better off than Percola) this book narrates the story of Pecola, her mother and father, and the Ohio community in which she lives in the 1940s. Each characterization is so thorough you can almost reach out and touch them; the chatter is so euphonious you can hear it and, despite the weight of this tale, take delight in each personality. Without a bump, we get the stories of her mother, her father, and the upstairs prostitutes, as well as of several other people who help destroy Pecola. Finally, there's Soaphead Church a self-made community wizard to whom Pecola makes her demand for blue eyes. Soaphead sees what this is about and writes a letter to God the style and intent of which has to be the first of its kind in all of contemporary literature.And Pecola herself? In insanity, she finds solace. We've seen her everywhere, everyday and never notice or chose to ignore her. She's on streets and in parks of every city, lost in her own world, forgotten by others and outside the margin of any community we can recognize. It is, in so many ways, one of the saddest stories ever told. In insanity, Pecola finds the only comfort she can. I'm aware that this sounds exactly like the pity that Toni Morrison would want to avoid. In conjunction with this pity, is awareness.

hard to relate to

by Cloggie Downunder

The Bluest Eye is the first novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is set in 1941 in the small town of Lorain, Ohio, and tells the story of an 11-year-old Negro girl, Pecola Breedlove, who becomes pregnant to her father Cholly. Pecola's family and environment is such that she is certain she is ugly; so convinced of this is she, that she wishes for blue eyes, believing this is the only thing that will relieve her ugliness. Narrated in part by a 9-year-old neighbourhood girl, Claudia, the perspective of young girls in this situation is novel. Some chapters detail the history of Cholly and Mrs Breedlove, giving some clues as to how this crippled and crippling family evolved. This reissue of Morrison's first novel includes a new Forward by the author wherein she explains what she was trying to achieve. Some of the prose is quite stunning: "Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved." The prose may be beautiful, but as a Dutch-born Caucasian living in Australia with a limited experience of the Negro, I found it difficult to relate to this book.

A literary masterpiece!

by CoffeeGurl

Toni Morrison is one of the best fiction writers of this era, and she has proved it again and again. The Bluest Eye, Morrison's first novel, is a rich and heart-wrenching story with language so exquisite and beautiful that moved me in many ways.The story is about Pecola, a girl whose only dream is to have blue eyes. Her perception of beauty is somewhat deluded, but that's the sad reality African Americans have endured for decades. The novel emphasizes self-hatred, but the focus in the story is not how one perceives one's beauty, but rather how others perceive it. The secondary characters are essentially important in the novel. Pecola, the focal character, is not quite as developed as the others. I think Morrison wanted the reader to comprehend other people's perception of Pecola's beauty -- or lack thereof. It is sort of an outsider looking in type of thing. Pecola's story is both tragic and thought provoking. One might wonder: how do I perceive beauty? Is beauty really in the eyes of the beholder?This is -- without a stretch of doubt -- a thinker's novel. Oprah has picked an excellent book. Toni Morrison is a gifted storyteller. I strongly urge to read this book!

A powerful debut from one of our best living writers

by Dallas Fawson

Toni Morrison's debut, The Bluest Eye, is not for the faint of heart; it contains graphic sexuality, including child abuse. However, if you can get past that, it is truly a beautiful novel. Toni Morrison paints a picture of black people living in America that is neither overly kind or overly cruel, and for me it augmented my appreciation for the culture.The plot is simple and devastating; Pecola Breedlove is a young black girl, not very attractive, pregnant with her father's child, and a bit of a social outcast. That may sound melodramatic, but the young characters who are able to feel both sympathy and some empathy for the girl add a touching human quality to the novel, as well as middle-aged prostitutes, who show a love for the girl that others do not.The first half of this novel is truly great. The writing is precise and poetic, with the occasional elegant metaphor. The writing in the second half does not falter, but the plot does lose ground a bit. When the focus turns away from the young girls, I did not feel as connected to the story. However, the bizarre and slightly disturbing ending (which lends the novel its title) is masterful and strange.If you are new to Toni Morrison, I would advise starting with Sula. It is not as good as Sula, Beloved, or Song of Solomon, but it is very much worth your time.

Written Child Porn

by Dan Blankenship "Author of THE RUNNING GIRL"

It has been a while since I read this book, but I recently was involved in a discussion about this Toni Morrison novel, so I've decided to write a review:The book has some brilliant moments, no doubt. But all and all this novel reads like a fifth-grader wrote it, and contains an extremely graphic rape scene between a man and a little girl. This novel, just like The Catcher In The Rye, is nothing but an attempt to write a story for people who love to see negativity and pessimism glorified. A play for that "woe-is-me" crowd of "LEFTIST" morons. An easy target to shoot for. If you want to become a famous novelist, just use the Lord's name in vain, over and over again, or describe how you hate the world because it has let you down.Like I said, there are a few parts of this novel I think are great. But there is so much more of it that is just disgusting, whining, and needless complaining. Toni Morrison is the most overrated writer in America today...[...]

Deeply disturbing, powerful tale written in excellent prose

by David Evans

In this tale, Morrison recounts the destruction of Pecola Breedlove, an African-American schoolgirl in 1940s Ohio. (Morrison reveals the ending - in brief - at the beginning, so I haven't given anything away here.) The author uses narrative from various points of view (Pecola herself, one of her classmates, her mother, and her father) and spans several decades to tell the story.Ultimately, the story is a powerful illustration of how experiences and viewpoints (in this case, mostly negative) get passed on from parent to child. Morrison further reveals in her afterword that this novel (her first) was an exploration of "the damaging internalization of assumptions of immutable inferiority," and "something as grotesque as the demonization of an entire race could take root inside the most delicate member of society: a child." These lessons are well taught through Morrison's adept storytelling.The prose is gorgeous. I regularly relished Morrison's beautiful diction, phrasing, and narrative technique. In that regard, the book is a fine piece of art.Morrison laments that the story "didn't work: many readers remain touched but not moved." The goal was that the readers would, rather than pity Pecola's destruction, be led into "an interrogation of themselves for the smashing." Although the book may not lead to as much introspection as Morrison wished, it still managed to evoke deep emotions.

Exceeded my Expectations

by Dead Kennedys

This is the first Toni Morrison experience for me and I was floored by this book. It tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, her tumultuous family-life and her dreams of being blue-eyed and blond-haired so that she would be loved. Her story is one that is at times difficult to get through (I had to put the book down a few times to catch my breath). Her thinking that blond hair and blue eyes will make her loveable is just heartbreaking at times, but it shows just how unjust life was during this time.

Surprisingly good...

by Dianna Setterfield "Compulsive Reader"

I will admit to some apprehension prior to picking up this book. I had heard that Toni Morrison, although a brilliant author, is a little hard to understand. And there's nothing I hate more than wading through a book full of abstract poetic descriptions and thick symbolism that goes right over my head. Despite all this, I pulled up my bootstraps and dived right in. What was to follow was quite a surprise.The Bluest Eye tell the story of the Breedloves, a poor black family living in Lorain, Ohio in the early 1940s. Each chapter tells something different -- the journey of the dad, Cholly, from curious young boy to a drunk and unloving father; the history of the mother, Pauline, and her dreams of movie stars and romance; and the childhood of the children, Sammy and Pecola, and how they deal with life as they've been given. Full of hardships and unfairness, the Breedloves have been through tough times most of their lives. And young Pecola's wishes of blue eyes and blonde hair in order to be loved and respected by others is a testament to the unjust world they lived in.My fear is that this review won't do the book justice. There is so much written here that left me with feelings of sadness and horror, but also of hope -- hope that our world now has moved on from the racism of the past and will eventually surpass it. The Bluest Eye is highly moving and sensitive, and written in an addictive easy and lyrical style. I may have missed an important part of the book, any underlying symbolism or meaning that Toni Morrison was trying to convey -- I don't know. All I do know is The Bluest Eye is a darn good story, and I'm extremely glad I read it.

Morrison shows how the world can be ugly, unjust and cruel

by doc peterson

In reading the reviews of _the Bluest Eye_, I am struck by the variety of opinon and reactions to the story. I am of mixed opinions. I thought Morrison's characters were brilliantly conceived- their perspectives and attitudes were believable, their interactions and motivations understandable given their natures. While many of the characters were unsympathetic - monsterous, even - that Morrison was able to evoke such a strong reaction from me given these people is one of the hallmarks of a master storyteller.The tragedy of the story - its brutality, its unfairness, and the way in which the characters react and handle the ugliness and injustice was unsettling. I certainly understand why reviewers objected to the way Morrison wrote this. However, the world is often ugly and unjust; bad things happen to innocents, people are cruel and sometimes the bad guys get away with committing horrible deeds. As I understand the story, this is a large part of what Morrison is showing readers.Yet I can't rate the book very highly - not because of the monsterous deeds or the injustice, but because of its organization and conclusion. The change in perspectives and backstories of characters made for choppy reading, which I didn't care for. Thankfully the afterword explained why Morrison chose to do this, and with hindsight it makes perfect sense - I would have rather had this as a foreward, the better to clue readers in about what to expect. Similarly I was not pleased with the conclusion. While I did not expect a happy ending (the story is, ultimately a tragedy), I had expected more attention to society's expectations of what beauty is and how this impacts and is interpreted within the African-American community rather than the anti-climactic ending Morrison has here. Morrison has a tremendous eye for detail and is a brilliant writer, but I much prefer her essays to her novels.

The Bluest Eye

by Donna

Toni Morrison's first novel is excellent. She tells a wonderful story about race, gender and class interspersed with the wisdom gained from education. She has an excellent voice

Sophisticated first novel from Morrison

by Edward Aycock

I can see how Morrison feels that this effort is not entirely successful. Perhaps the only drawback I see to this novel is that there are a few too many shifts in perspective, and by the time we are ready to have the story end, we get introduced to new characters and have to read all about their history. But that is a small complaint. The rest of this first novel is vintage Morrison. Granted, her voice is still rather new in this book, and the elements don't quite gel as well as they will in future novels, but we get to see Morrison at the beginning of her writing that will eventually lead her down the path to the Nobel Prize in Literature. Of course, this is not always an easy read. In fact, this story is full of ugliness and horror that leaves the reader in need of a long, head clearing walk afterwards. However, many people label this story as being just too depressing, or a real downer. I don't see it that way. Perhaps this is because Morrison tends to distance us from the events at times by telling the story partly through the perspective of so many different narrators. I hardly think this story is too depressing to read. After all, just a few short years ago, Americans (and the world) were lining up to see a movie about a ship that sinks, killing over a thousand. This book is far more developed, and engrossig than that film. Don't listen to the naysayers, read this book, not only for the craftsmanship, but to read the first novel in what becomes for Morrison a brilliant career.

Heartbreaking, Beautiful and Powerful

by Emma Dickinson

Toni Morrison weaves such a detailed fabric in her narrative centered on Pecola Breedlove that I don't even know how to begin writing a review. With few words, she paints a rich portrait of an entire community. Each character is vivid and true. She reveals a world that is mostly ignored by American authors - that of black culture in the 1940s, the self-hatred, anger and racism within that community and how those attitudes debilitated and oppressed its own members. The rejection or acceptance of one's "blackness," the very essence of everyone in the story, determined each character's path to either survival or demise. This is a harsh, eye-opening read that will change the way you think of America pre-civil rights movement.-- Emma D, aka Anna Zimmerman

A Story Everyone Needs To Read!

by Guy V. De Rosa "Divalover"

This is my first Toni Morrison novel. At times difficult, at times you have to put the text down and think about what you have just read. A beautifully written story that really hits home and really makes you think. As a white man, reading this book at this time (a time when we are close to electing a black man as president), it made me realize how far we have come as a country; and yet it made me think about how far we have yet to go. This is an important "don't miss" novel. If at all possible try to read it in one or two sittings. Ms. Morrison has done a masterful job!

A Stunningly Picturesque slice of American life

by Herbert L Calhoun "paulocal"

An utterly stunningly picturesque slice of life in a cold and cold-blooded, capitalist, racist, male dominated society. Told at the periphery of our collective consciousness, as if were a daydream -- as a collection of vignettes about a family of women, a "stand-in" for any black family; indeed as a "stand-in" for any poor family (of women) in America.It is a story so carefully and stealthily told -- at the speed of everyday life -- tucked away in the subtext beneath the techniques of a skilled writer -- that the very act itself is the definition of pure genius.As American art goes, this is the work of an intellectual magician, a literary and societal --indeed a psychological sorcerer. It is work reserved only for the elite of even the elite of literary geniuses; and told only as a genius could tell it: without lashing out and without the palpable and expected rancor; without even a semblance of conscious intent: There is no need for a hidden agenda, as the pure truth (even when it is imagined) can tell no lies.(Now I understand why we need fiction. The truth hides between the lines, in the crevices of everyday life. Occasionally we need to coax it out into the light of day.)There is no need to scream in the face of American society -- even when it is a powerful scream that is needed. There is no need for "calling American society down" for what it is and for what it has done to our collective humanity; the everyday details of Frieda, Claudia and Pecola's lives speak so eloquently for themselves (and for us all). There is no need to single out the complexities of politics, for life on the ground "vectors" directly into the politics above.The writer of fiction gives us the litarary evidence at the level of everyday consciousness of the interconnectedness of the brutality and inhumanity of our cultural system as that brutality and inhumanity is written in the background of the script of society's drama, and as it gets played out daily in the lives of everyday people. What a work of art! Ten stars

A powerful novel

by Hilde Bygdevoll

'The bluest eye' was Toni Morrison's debut novel, and it was first published in 1970.'The bluest eye' is a tragic, heartbreaking story. We meet the 11-year-old black girl Pecola Breedlove, and her world - filled with hatred and racism. Her story is not a happy one - her brothers have run away from home, and her drunkard father has sexually abused her. Pecola believes that if she only had blonde hair and blue eyes, all her other problems will go away'The characters are all very well developed, and one has to care deeply for them. The symbolism is easy to understand, and Morrison's prose is beautiful, subtle, and unique.This is a novel that leaves you thinking, wondering about the world we live in.Toni Morrison has quite rightfully won both the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize. 'The bluest eye', was the third novel I read by Toni Morrison. Honestly, 'The bluest eye' is not her masterpiece (I think that the book 'Song of Solomon' is her best novel) but it is certainly worth reading!An enjoyable read!

The Blackest Eye

by Jabberwocky

The Bluest Eye by T. Morrison deals with a lot of themes: Racism, the idea of beauty, sexual desire, and self-hatred. One clear thing is that all of the latter themes are indirectly caused by the first one.Many of the people in this book hate themselves because they are black and dark-skinned, which they deem as ugly. The ugliness they perceive in themselves influences the ugliness they show towards others, especially the protagonist, Pecola.Pecola wishes for blue eyes because she sees a direct connection between acceptance and the "blue-eyed, blonde hair" image. A connection reinforced by her own mother who basically abandons her own family for the neatness, cleanliness, and simplicity of the white family she works for.One thing Morrison seems to want to convince the reader of is the idea that the destructiveness of blacks by other blacks should be blamed mostly on whites. While racism and white oppression are certainly a reason for certain behavior from minorities, it can't be used as an excuse. In the end, we all have choices. We all still have a will. If there were no free will, punishment would be worthless and useless. You face adversity, and you choose to go left or right. Responsibility has to come down to the individual. Nothing Cholly experienced, whether it be his sexual humiliation by two white men or his parental abandonment, can justify the rape and inpregnation of his own daughter. Toni Morrison tries to FORCE our sympathy on Cholly and Pauline, but I have none for them whatsoever. Their behavior destroyed their daughter, who was one of the only TRUE innocents in the novel. It's possible to UNDERSTAND people's reasons for things, but we still can't EXCUSE them for those reasons.One thing I can look at in The Bluest Eye to justify my claim that being a victim of racism is not an excuse for self-destruction is the way Claudia rejects the idea of the "white equals beauty" message. She hates the white baby dolls, and she is confident in her own self-worth. Anyone with a brain can decide to reject destructiveness rather than embrace it, if they want to. It just amazes me a 9-year old could, but not grown people.The idea of blackness and dark-skinnedness as less attractive is still prevalent today. Who are the black women who are exalted as representing the ideal? Halle Berry, a mulatto woman, and Beyonce, a woman who seems to not only be getting lighter and lighter, but her hair seems to mysteriously be getting blonder and blonder. No black woman seems to be acceptable unless she has straight, long hair even though none of our ancestors in Africa had a perm. Even B.E.T., a station created to celebrate blackness perpetrates this "ideal" image of what shade, figure or design a black woman should be.This is a bleak book not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of depth here. I could talk about it for days.

Story of a struggling family grappling with their demons

by Jacqueline Wales, author of When the Crow Sings

The Bluest Eye touches a nerve deep inside the reader. The young heroine is one of several strong, compelling characters-but she is the person to whom my heart reached out the most. Focusing the chapters on the different members of the Breedlove family really helps us see all of them are growing as products of their own experiences and dreams. This is an important, and very intense, book.

The Eye of the Beholder

by James Hiller

I believe that Toni Morrison is one of the most challenging authors America has ever produced. She fails to ever talk down to her audience, but rather, challenge us to aspire to higher levels of meaning by writing challenging literature of the highest quality. Thus, "The Bluest Eye" falls into that category.As her first novel, Morrison herself suggests that at the time of her writing this, she was not advanced enough to handle the language, and therefore, finds it somewhat clumsy. The book I read was incredibly rich and deep, inspirational and chilling.We find one narrator of the story, a little girl named Claudia, retelling the events of a another black girl in her small Ohio town, and the horrible things that Pecola had to endure. Described by nearly every character in the novel as "ugly", Pecola's only wish is to have blue eyes, so that she can attain the societal expectation of "attractiveness". Pecola comes from a warped, unsupportive family, which thereby shapes Pecola's viewpoint and outlook on her own life.One thing Morrison does so efeectively in her novels is switch narrators whenever she sees fit. At times, Claudia tells us the story; at others, a third person narrator allows us to soar above the story and get more important information that a little girl may not be privvy too. At at times, we even learn about the events of the story through women who merely gossip the story. The effect allows us, the reader, to garner more informaton, some of it in personal ways, to allow us a grander sense of this story.Morrison's literature, in every sense of the word, challenges the reader at every turn. This is not a book to read lightly, or just dabble in. Because of her writing, and her writing style, she is able to make grand stories out of the most ordinary people; to give voice to those characters in literature most often overlooked or marginalized in our culture. Morrison must keep writing to allow those voices to ring clear, and add to the cacophany of voices that make America as strong as it is.

A young girl named Pecola Breedlove.

by Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker"

Morrison's depiction of the hardships of a young minority girl life is deeply influential. Morrison repeatedly pounds the reader with trials the young Pecola Breedlove must face. Toni Morrison shows that she is insightful and carefully chooses every situation to compound a higher meaning. This is an extremely thought provoking well-written piece of art that allows us to, no forces us to do a self-evaluation and comparative analysis to what society, media, outdated ideas mean to us on a deep personal level.It is these harshly real facts of life that make the book so difficult to read. While reading, I had to consciously tell myself to continue. I would have put the book down because of the cruel situations, but I knew that the situations the young one endured were the reality of childhood for many children despite their innocence.I was especially struck by the actions of Claudia as she received her white baby doll. I felt proud of her; I could feel along with her. The fact that Morrison so eloquently and convincingly paints the portraits of Claudia and Pecola that _anyone_ can feel along with her proves that Morrison is an author not soon to be forgotten.This is for the reader that wants to be challenged and is capable of constant mental action: not just a passive activity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand the mentality of child abuse and realize that children are resilient to a great degree, but there are limits.

Haunting and real

by Joanna Mechlinski

At eleven, Pecola Breedlove is convinced of her ugliness. Her parents Cholly and Pauline, and older brother Sammy, all believe the family is cursed with it. Pecola's parents viciously fight and Sammy runs away from home on a regular basis, while Pecola tries to make her body disappear.All of the ugliness in Pecola's life would vanish, she believes, if only she had blue eyes. Such pretty eyes - belonging in the faces of priviledged white girls, smiled upon and coddled by all the world - would no doubt see and bring more beauty than anything belonging to a dark-skinned child.Pecola's simultaneous obsession with and hatred of blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls is shared by the story's narrator, her friend Claudia. Despite living in a decent-enough home with her parents and sister Frieda, Claudia still notices the white girls in her world and fixates upon them, even hating blonde baby dolls for what they represent.Then along comes Maureen Peal, a new classmate whom everyone instantly adores. Yet Maureen, half black and half white, further complicates Claudia's musings. She both hates Maureen and longs for the friendship and acceptance of such a perfect, beloved being.One scarcely has to be black or a little girl to appreciate Morrison's message in this unforgettable novel. Most of us have, in some shape or form, longed to change our physical selves, truly believing that our lives would be more beautiful if only we could alter our appearances.This classic is certainly worth the acclaim it has had over the years, and will remain in readers' memories.

A haunting debut

by JR

Morrison uses beautiful language to describe a not so beautiful story about some not so beautiful people, at least according to a society that judges a person harshly on their looks. Symbolism is on every page, with the underlying theme of self loathing evident beneath the many changing narratives. Morrison can sometimes be pretentious, but she always leaves the reader questioning the world around them. After reading this a second time, it is easy to see why weird celebrities like Micheal Jackson can grow up to hate their own skin color so destructively. Here's a good example of how such a possibility can begin. The scene where Pecola tries to overcome her shame buying three pieces of candy is as painful and heartbreaking as any passage in a Richard Wright novel. Before Alice Walker's The Color Purple came along, this story was already out there, as part of an all too slim and overlooked genre: the black female experience. Morrison deserves awards for all her books, if only by refusing to shy away from life's brutalities. Disturbing moments in a fictional story are nothing compared to the disturbing histories of many black americans, and it's important that their lives be given a voice. In fact many voices, which Toni has always been skilled at putting to paper. She is truly a gifted talent. If you're going to write about heavy subjects, you can't gloss over them to make the reader comfortable. That would be a cop out to both the truth and the creative process. Let's hope with under less than ten published books Morrison still has more stories inside her. The human race and literature need her.

An Inspiring and moving story

by Julia Bond "Julia"

The Bluest Eye is truly an inspiring and a moving story. Through a child eyes, Ms. Morrison takes us on a journey to the most innocent and perverse thoughts every human being has, including violence and despair. This book will make you think and feel. I applaud the author for writing about our misinformed society. This book is a must read for every person that has an interest in our social conditions.

Almost Poetic

by Julia Rose

How can I begin?This is probably one of the most intense, most haunting, and one of the greatest novels I have ever read. It is also one of the most controversial ever written, with many different opinions. However, mine is that the universal message as well as the themes within this novel are deep and beautiful.The characters in this story are within all of us. Every person has longed for love and to be loved, to be accepted, be be viewed as beautiful. We have to plant our "seeds" carefully, to find this love and to see ourselves as beautiful. It is a testament as well as plea to all races and genders that we must put aside our fears and differences of each other to find the beauty within all of us.As I said in the title, The Bluest Eye could pass as a poem. The writing is so free, and so smooth; and the voice is amazing. I am in awe of the poetry of the words, and the richness of each character. Toni Morrison truly pours her heart and soul into developing every aspect of her storyline, and the end result is wonderful.I know that the imagery in this story can be incredibly intense and that there are some bits that are very disturbing. However, you have to think that it is her superb writing style that creates these emotions and responses to this book. It is a very gifted and amazing writing who can cause such images and gives so much emotion to the reader. I am throughly amazed.I strongly suggest reading this with a group. Some of the things you read are SO strong and often disturbing that it is very good to dicuss it, even chapter by chapter with others...NOT a beach read by any means!However, if you want something amazing and a story that will stay with you for days, read this. You will feel incredibly rewarded that you stuck it out and will certainly have some interesting things to talk about with you literary friends!However, if you want something light and fun for a day at the beach or the coffee shop, stay far away!Finally; if you enjoyed The Bluest Eye I recommend Sula, another very good read by Toni Morrison.


by Kathleen

Toni Morrison says in her Afterword that the Breedloves are not supposed to represent the typical black family of the 1930's and 40's. What the Breedloves do represent is the effects of racial self-loathing on each member of the family with the final destruction of its youngest member, Pecola Breedlove--age 11.Pecola is the little girl who longs for blue eyes--blue eyes like Shirley Temple, blue eyes like the blond haired child in the house where Pecola's mother Pauline is a servant. Maybe if she has blue eyes, her mother will love her, other children will like her. Blue eyes represent to Pecola the idea of being. She feels worthless. She feels invisible.This book is absolutely gripping in its portrayal of black life. There is no sentimentality here. But there is also a rough realism and gritty humor in the dialogue.The author understands her characters with a completeness that is astounding.I don't know if Toni Morrison was a mother when she wrote this book, but I found that Pauline Breedlove's rejection of her daughter very harsh.Still, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand that the most vulnerable in our society deserve our compassion and our respect.

Blue Eyes Are Not the Answer

by Kay Mitchell

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison's first novel, is redolent with imagery and the richness of language that her later books also reveal. We discover, through the eyes of children, the heartbreaking story of Pecola Breedlove, an eleven year old Black girl whose physical ugliness shapes her place in the world. Shunned by her classmates and made fun of, she is befriended by two sisters who feel sorry for her and set about trying to change the course of her life. Pecola's lack of beauty is an extension of her family which has no unity and no core of values to lean on. Her longing for blue eyes suggests her craving for the beauty that exists for all the blond and blue-eyed children and explains her love of Shirley Temple and similar stars, but deep inside, reveals the tragic lack of self-love and the almost universal belief of her times that Black was not beautiful. When a devastating event shakes her entire world, Pecola tries to maintain her equilibrium with her belief that her eyes will really turn blue. However, the changes that occur, are far less attractive and incredibly more destructive. As with all her books, Toni Morrison has created a poetic, if tragic, view of the world. In Pecola's life we can experience the tragedy of not having a true place in life, and share the shattering of disillusionment that can only be felt in childhood.

Powerful, masterful

by LH422

Toni Morrison is a tremendous writer who really makes me think, and this book was no exception. The details of the story are absolutely tragic- a young girl is raped by her father and bears his baby, who dies. Meanwhile, she's so full of socially-created self-hatred that she wishes for blue eyes, which she comes to believe she's been given. The writing in this book is astonishing. Morrison has managed to produce something more than unmitigated sadness, even though so many details of the story are tremendously sad. This is a powerful book.

Very good book, but I got lost a few times in the story.

by Lizzie "carebrite"

The writing in this book amazed me, I actully at points felt what each person was feeling. Some of the people in the book were written about very well.I read this book after seeing it on Oprahs lest and would recommend it to anyone.The only reason it got 4 stars was because there were a few times that I had to go back and reread a few sections to fully understand what was going.

Toni Morrison is amazing!

by L. M Prestwidge

This is the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young African-American girl in a post-World War II America that adores Shirley Temple look-alikes. Pecola prays for blue eyes so she too can be beautiful. Pecola's own mother even seems to love the little blonde girl whose house she cleans more than she loves her own children. Toni Morrison's first novel poignantly captures the ugliness of adults and other children who make this little girl feel ugly. A great choice for reading groups. Lots to talk about.

A Story of Self-Hate

by Marina Kushner "Truth About Caffeine.com"

This story takes place before the civil rights movement, and although it's centered around an African American girl, the story is more about her battle with her self-image.

Morrison's BLUEST EYE: Suffering Is But The First Step

by Martin Asiner

As one reads Toni Morrison's THE BLUEST EYE, the reader first gets the impression that the battle for survival in a white dominant world is a hopeless one. The events of the novel are filtered through the eyes of an adult Claudia McTeer, who remembers what it was like to be a nine year old child back in the fall of 1940. Claudia shares her duties as a narrator with an eleven year old Pecola Breedlove, who suffers unspeakable cruelties at the hands of her father and by extension of society in general. The world of THE BLUEST EYE is full of damaged people, some of whom, like Pecola suffer in waves that drown their basic selves. Others, like Claudia and her sister Frieda, suffer, but find the strength to resist and to grow, perhaps even to heal and to forgive. Others, like Cholly Breedlove and his wife suffer but in ways that allows that suffering to grow into a malignancy that devours what may once have been decency, the result of which is to create an entirely new human whose sole function is to release their pain by inflicting greater pain on others.This concept of coming to grips with suffering in a healing context or permitting that suffering to overwhelm the book's major characters is a function of the bitter racism that was then prevalent. When truly innocent children like Pecola suffer, her obvious pain elicits a powerful sense of sympathy from the reader. She has done no wrong, but the failings of her parents to come to terms with their own suffering from racism, make Pecola's agony unendurable. What Morrison has accomplished in her four season howl of pain is to make it clear that despite the horrendous mistreatment of Cholly towards his daughter or the coldness of Pauline towards Pecola, there are no true villains present. Morrison gives a mitigating rationale for the brutality of those who shower brutality on others. When Cholly rapes Pecola, he is re-enacting the rage that he felt years earlier when his first attempts at lovemaking were interrupted and ridiculed by a trio of white men who thought it great fun to watch a pair of adolescent blacks fumble at what was to them a momentous and life affirming event but to the whites merely a source of racist entertainment.By the end of the novel Morrison suggests that Pecola's quest for blue eyes was mirrored by nearly everyone else who sought their own version of blue eyes. Everyone fails at their own quest, but it is the attempt to survive by finding a meaningful quest that renders that quest worthwhile in the first place. Suffering, then, is seen as only the first step toward redemption. It is what one does with that suffering that permits one to grow or to die. No author has said this more clearly than Toni Morrison.


by Maurice Williams "mauricewms"

If beauty is skin deep then you'd have to love the skin you're in to fully appreciate it. And how do we learn to love our, skin . . .by having its beauty validated by our families, friends, community, and society at large. Is there any question why Pecola's quest for the bluest eyes (what she believed to be the ultimate measure of beauty) became so totally consuming, to the point that the child drove herself mad? In The Bluest Eye, Morrison points out that beauty is as beauty does. She challenges her readership to re-evaluate our own notions of beauty. I have known for some time that this country's standard of beauty (the physical at least) is absent of anything reflective of an African presence. Morrison has validated that knowledge and through this novel, shares it with the world.Like all of Morrison's work, The Bluest Eye uses music, spirituality, and familiar language (from an African-American perspective) to deliver a powerful message about the African-American experience. The fact that the novel is had for some readers to digest is indicative of the truth that it reveals for truth is always hard to swallow. I was not surprised that the book, when originally published, was banned in some parts of this country. The novel reveals a raw and ugly truth on our perception of beauty that that would certainly be rejected by mainstream America. This novel is recommended reading for the world. Enjoy!

Self-Loathing, Self-Doubt, How Can A Child Love Herself?

by M. Galindo

This was the first book I've read by Toni Morrison, and it did not disappoint. The story takes place in Ohio in the early 1940s - before the Civil Rights era, before Martin Luther King, Jr., and before Rosa Parks ever stayed seated on the bus. The story is told mainly from the focus from a young black girl about another young black in the neighborhood. The other black girl, Pecola Breedlove, comes from a family that is poor with a father who is an alcoholic. Pecola is considered ugly and her greatest wish is to have blue eyes, as she firmly believes this will make her beautiful.Naturally, the story involves much more than this, and Toni Morrison weaves a story that catches the reader up from the very first words and doesn't release them until the final page is turned. Ultimately, the idea of self-loathing is plainly seen - not just within Pecola, but within an entire community, an entire race. Pecola's story is not a pleasant read, yet it is difficult not feel a tenderness for this child. She begs to be nurtured.Many people who saw me reading this book told me it was a "black" book, but I disagree. The idea of self-loathing - either within oneself or within a community - is not specific to any one group of people, to my way of thinking. However, Toni Morrison has so captured the feelings and forced the reader to face them, that this book speaks to any and all who opens the pages. No child should be made to feel they are less simply because of who they are.A very moving book, highly recommended.

Masterful First Novel, Terribly Sorrowful Tale [166]

by Miami Bob "Resurgent Reading"

Written in the 1960's, and published in 1970, this book delivers a perspective of the victim to a horrible rape. Way ahead of its time. If the topic, even 37 years later, is too chillingly graphic a topic, stay away.As Morrison's first novel, it features some stylistic edges which are not as evident in her later works. First, the prose seems more majestic and incredibly tight. She reminds me more of Zora Neale Hurston in this book than in any other - but in each there is a Hurston-like style to her prose. Secondly, the story line is not as harsh about the white man - there is a rape of a man by white men and some bitter words - but the depths of the white man's evil upon the black man is not as resoundingly elicited here. Lastly, she delivers the narrative through the eyes of children - none even teenagers - which she never does in subsequent novels.The eye color is merely symbolic of racial self-loathing. The sexually molested protagonist, Pecola, is the party asking for eye colors not established by others of her race. She amazingly sees her request for the eye color to come true, a sign of her mind's betrayal to her psyche while living through the impregnation of her young body - a product of a rape committed by her now incarcerated father. Her happiness resounds when delivered the new eye color, a symbol or signal of her mental break down.Sexual deviation rings as a common thread. A self-proclaimed minister, Soaphead Church, enters the book in the last quarter to describe his thoughts to us in diary form. He is a sick person whose thoughts reflect what we see too often in our morning papers in regard to the Catholic Church's agents - but at least Soaphead loves little girls and does not touch them.Twisting us through the town of Lorain, Ohio, Morrison reveals the skeletons of many closets. Most are apparently good people. All are full of love. We concentrate mostly on poor Pecola and her demon father Cholly - each who are loving, but not necessarily receiving or giving in a good manner. As Morrison states, "Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe." This sentence could be included in all of Morrison's other novels.No comedy in these pages, just great prose and tremendous story telling. Among all of the American novelists of the last 50 years, I believe none can tell a story more articulately, nor more prophetically. As bitter as this tale may be, it was a delight to read.

A superb first novel by a major artist

by Michael J. Mazza

Originally published in 1970, Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" was the first novel by a writer who would go on to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, and be acclaimed as one of the major literary figures in the United States. But if you wish, ignore the author's history and just go ahead and read the book: it is one of the most powerful, devastating portrayals of African-American life ever written."Eye" centers around Pecola Breedlove, a small Black girl from a horrifically dysfunctional family (in a 1993 afterword, Morrison describes them as "a crippled and crippling family"). Pecola's story begins in the fall of 1941, but Morrison moves back in time to tell the fuller story of the girl and her family. Morrison's skill as a writer is evident from the opening pages, in which she chillingly deforms the archetypal, Eurocentric "Dick and Jane" readers.A central theme of "Eye" is how Black children's psyches can be damaged by the Eurocentric foci of American popular culture. Figures like the Raggedy Ann dolls and Hollywood stars become ominous figures in Pecola's tragedy. The story is full of memorable, often grotesque characters, such as three prostitutes (described as "merry gargoyles") whom Pecola loves."Eye" is full of painful, shocking incidents that illustrate the contours of human cruelty, abuse, and brokenness. I believe that this novel shows Morrison to be a true literary heir of William Faulkner. "The Bluest Eye" may strike some readers as just too horrific and depressing, but I believe that it is a novel that deserves an attentive readership.

Poingnant story of

by mirope "mirope"

It's hard to believe that this powerful, beautifully written story is Toni Morrison's first novel. As always, Morrison's prose is masterful and her imagery is sublime. It says a lot about Morrison's skill that this is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. For me, this was essentially a story about how much pain and abuse can be heaped upon one small, innocent child before she breaks. Pecola, the young black girl at the heart of the story, has committed no crime except being ugly. As she is repeatedly hurt, negligected, ostracized and violated by everyone around her, she concludes that if only she had blue eyes, she would suddenly become lovable. Morrison invites all of us to examine our hidden prejudices when it comes to race and appearance. It's not a pleasant experience, but it is a meaningful one. This book stays with you, and you'll be glad it does.

very powerful

by mistermaxxx08 "mistermaxxx08"

what i have always repected about mrs.morrison is her frankness.she isn't afraid to tell it like it is.be it race,sex,class,self-esteem&the world at large.this book deals with subjects head on and isn't afraid to tell this story.it's a real eye opener for folks that don't realize how important it is to tell children that no matter what color or shade&size that they are loved and wanted.very powerful book.


by "pamela_"

It was my first time reading something by Toni Morrison, and was sad to say that this book was very depressing, it jumped around alot, and she was overly descriptive. I wasn't sure if I was reading about snow capped mountains or the wicks of candles, when she used to convey different things about the way a person appeared, it was very distracting. The moral of the story was true to life and sad. I would not recommend this book.

An indictment of racism

by Peggy Vincent "author and reader"

An indictment of racismThrough the slow descent into insanity of Pecola Breedlove, the 11yo protagonist of The Bluest Eye, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison shows us the evidence of racism in the Midwest in the 40s. Pecola, who can?t resolve or understand how and why her life is so miserably different from Dick and Jane?s (the eponymous characters in the primary readers of 1st grade classrooms), and she prays for blue eyes which are, to her, the ticket to privilege and happiness. Her tormenters, including many from her own family, are presented not as monsters but as fully-rounded humans with their own scars and stories and sympathies.This was Morrison?s first book, and it?s not her best. But it?s well worth a read, not only to realize how good she was when she started, but also to appreciate how far she had progressed by the time she wrote Beloved.

Interesting but incomplete

by reader 451

The Bluest Eye is about race relations and, as such, can never be completely understandable to a non-American such as me. It revolves around a simple and very sad story of rape, incest and the victimisation of a little girl in 1940s America. It is told from the point of view of blacks - this was before the term African-American - and partly in another child's voice. The little girl thinks herself ugly and envies the looks of blue-eyed whites. That a black child could consider herself physically inferior was a real shock to me, and for considering this only, the book is worth reading. One wonders how much this has changed in the last four decades.There is a broader subject, however, which is the psychological impact and destructive power of models of beauty, especially feminine beauty. This, unfortunately, is only alluded to and could have been addressed in far more depth. The book also lacks the victim's own voice. Because it is told in chronological disorder and from different protagonists' angles, the story tends to be less strongly felt. At times it almost reads like a documentary. Perhaps this is for the best, since some scenes might have been unbearable if told by the central character herself. Still, while interesting and often revealing, this book too often gave me the impression of being unfinished.

A powerful story

by Roz Levine

The Bluest Eye, the story of a young girl's tortured life, is not a story you can "like". It reads like your worst nightmares, very disturbing and very graphic. It takes a strong stomach to get through this novel. But, this is just what makes the book a masterpiece, that Ms Morrison can draw such powerful feelings from readers. Toni Morrison has grown as a writer. But this book, her first, takes you to a world most didn't know existed and evokes almost unbearably strong emotions. A must read for lovers of great literature. This is not a book you read for pleasure. It's a book you read for the power of the written word.

The Worst Book I've Read in a Long Time

by silky69

I decided not to finish this book after reading about two thirds of it, and realizing that every page was filled with filthy descriptions and the story was jumping around way too much. It nauseated me to read and I saw no necessity to go into such graphic detail about many things. I kept wondering when I would start to like it as much as the other people did who raved about it, but never got there and was so relieved when I decided to put it down and give it back to Goodwill and find a better book to spend my time with. I am still amazed that this author won a Nobel or Pulitzer prize for her literature, as I found this book totally disgusting and full of filth.There is so much better literature to spend your time with. Find something more fulfilling and uplifting. It's fine to read a bood about suffering, but Toni Morrison really should take some writing courses before she attempts to write another. It was extremely hard to follow the story in addition to being overy graphic for no good reason that I could see.

The Bluest Eye

by smartnurse123

A prize-winning novel written by Toni Morrison in the 1970's. It is moving and thought provoking, although there have been many like it since then. Pecola Breedlove, a young African American girl, wishes for blue eyes so that others will love and accept her. She wanted to be attractive with what society deemed as attractive at that time: blue eyes and blonde hair.

Beautiful, but....

by Suzanne E. Anderson "Author"

Toni Morrison is a wonderfully gifted writer. Her use of language in The Bluest Eye is exquisite. Through the use of different points of view, she captures the different motivations of each character and offers us a platform from which to understand their actions. My question is this...if this book is about the perception of beauty, did Pecola have to be raped to convey the theme? I believe the story supported Ms. Morrison's point without the brutalization of the child.

Somewhat disappointed and confused!

by Sylviastel

While Toni Morrison is more than worthy of her status as a Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, her first novel here is somewhat of a disappointment to me. The story is about an eleven year old girl, Pecola, growing up in 1941 with World War II and the end of the great depression in Morrison's hometown of Lorain, Ohio. While I applaud MOrrison's attempt to create the atmosphere by using realistic devices such as a dialogue, slang, and cruel truths of life. Pecola leads a very bleak life with a father, Cholly. The book first states that she is carrying her own father's baby. I got confused while reading this book about Cholly's role as father. I'm not quite sure what happens to Pecola. The book is disjointed at times with different narrators and not a single voice. I felt lost at times and confused by the situation around Pecola's life. While I applaud anybody who writes a novel, this book was somewhat disappointing because I still felt that MOrrison was trying to find the right voice. Regardless, Morrison does write a powerful, grim, bleak novel but I still hold hope for Pecola's life.

Blues novel?

by tawnyuzzi

It was a good book that I was required to read for an English class, but I enjoyed it, and have since bought more of Morrison's work. Check it out.

Time honored classis

by Texas Rose "Roseanna"

This is a classic written in Morrison's wonderful style which brings the reader into the heart of the characters. This particular edition is the paperback version that you will see most teenagers carrying around.

As always with Morrison: a clear view into a black soul

by The Concise Critic:

In Toni Morrison's "Beloved", a sage black woman summarizes the troubles of her race: "There ain't no sin but whitepeople." But there are no white people, of much consequence, in "The Bluest Eyes". The blacks envy and hate and destroy each other.This is tough, sad, moving reading (as long as you avoid Morrison's afterword which edges from wisdom and poetry towards self-praise and academic arrogance).

Vanity leads to madness...

by The Prissy Snob "Prissy Snob"

It is no secret that I am a huge Toni Morrison fan. I read this book years ago in high school or my freshman year in college. I know that this book has been reviewed and analyzed time and time again but this is my take on it.Our narrator Claudia MacTeer makes known that she and her sister Frieda are often overlooked by the adults around them. The sisters are listening more closely than the adults know. Through their eyes, we discover the tragic story of their friend eleven year old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola is a child with a melancholy spirit. She is growing up in a home with no evidence of love while being reared by parents that knew very little about the emotion themselves. Pecola's innocence was snatched from her by her drunken father, Cholly Breedlove. Cholly is a character that is very easy to hate. He is a horrible drunken beater and child molester. Morrison tries to give us some insight to Cholly's madness by describing his background. Left on a garage heap by his mother and rescued by his aunt who constantly reminds him of his horrible beginning. On a quest for his father, He was rejected for a dice game. After all this, I still could not muster up any empathy for ol' Cholly Breedlove. Mrs. Breedlove is a bitter woman who would rather wallow in her situation than love and pay attention to her own children. She nurtures the little white girl whose home she works at and never reciprocates it to Pecola. Pecola and her brother addresses their mother as, Mrs. Breedlove. Everyone in the Breedlove family seems to be detached from each other. There is no connection in this family besides abuse and neglect.Claudia and Frieda try to protect and befriend Pecola but their efforts don't even penetrate the surface of her pain. Pecola thinks that "blue eyes" will solve all her problems. She thinks that "blue eyes" will get her accepted. She even consults the town "spiritualist", Soap Head Church, to see if there was a way he could "grant" them to her. Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove try to fill their emptiness with vanity instead of love. We come to find out that vanity leads to madness.I could not pick a favorite character from this novel. I feel like I never really got to know any of them in depth. I finished the novel feeling like someone was telling me this story in a gossip session. I suggest that Toni write an entire novel about Soap Head Church. Church's character would make for an interesting read. This is an epic novel that deals with a lot of issues and this review just skimmed the surface. Considering that this was Toni's first novel it still holds as much literary weight as, A Mercy.

Preachy, depressing, confusing, but at least its short

by Tim Lieder "Founder of Dybbuk Press"

According to the Amazon review, Toni Morrison expressed unhappiness with this book. She was right. It's a depressing trip through the hell that is one girl's life and it's not the brightest girl in the world either. She is there for people to do things to and you never learn much about except that she has dreams of having the bluest eyes even though she's black.Basically she is internalizing the anger and the hatred around her.This is the kind of book you read in college classes for an example of how racism and sexism messes with people's minds. It's got nice style, but it's pretty forgettable.Read anything else by Toni Morrison. She is an amazing and brilliant author and her books just get better with repeated readings. I might not dislike this book so much if there wasn't such a consistant high standard in her other works.Buy it only if you need to complete your Toni Morrison collection. Like I said in the title of this review. It is short so you'll only spend a week or two on it at most. I think I read my copy in 2 hours.

Beauty Is In The Eye

by Timothy

This book taught: That dark skin is just as pretty as any other skin, that African people do not know how to see themselves through their own eyes, children have great imaginations that can be corrupted by sick societies, and more.

Sad facet of reality

by Todd O'Rourke

"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison is a novel that one does forget. In "The Bluest Eye", the reader is thrown into a world many Americans didn't know existed. It tells a story about one girls quest to change her eye color to look more traditionally beautiful. Meanwhile, throughout the story the reader is introduced to many individuals that all have unique stories of their own. Just when you think that you dislike a character, you soon find out their life's story; your perception of them changes, albeit not always for the better.Overall the story is heart wrenching and interesting. Although, I have not read anything else by Toni Morrison, I believe that this book speaks highly of her writing ability.I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thought Provoking!

by T.S. Charles (author)

I read The Bluest Eye while in college and, aside from the graphic nature of the book, really enjoyed it. It brings you to a place you really don’t want to visit, but should. It brings up a lot of important issues about society and how people view themselves based off preconceived notions of what is beautiful and what is not. If you have not read this book, I definitely recommend checking it out.


by V.C.

Out of all the books i have read this year, this is one of those books that just didn't hit the mark for me. It's not a horribly written book or the worse book i have ever read. It's very well written, and very poetic. However, that doesn't make the story any more or less interesting or good than a novel that isn't written in that form and style. Knowing the author's reputation, i was expecting to really enjoy this book and to feel the essence of Toni Morrison and see finally why she's deeply acknowledged and respected. I can see why of course, but nothing about The Bluest Eye made me truly see the whole picture. For one, the narration was very confusing, and at some point it feels as if the narrator is rambling too much. And the sequence of events wasn't very coherent either. And the story itself, although tragic and sad, is not great or spectacular. At the end it was just depressing, and I just didn't get any type of emotion, insight, or feeling after it. I was just expecting much better from all the hype of this very talented author and this book. Sorry, I just don't see what was the big deal about this book. I give credit to its poetic style, but other than that, i don't really see anything else that really makes this book as great as people made it out to be.


by whj

I think this is my least favorite of Tony Morrison's books. I like the simplicity, but it seems to lack the layers that I love about her writing.

a real heart breaker

by "zarings3"

This book was so sad. The final chapter left me feeling a little hopeless and heart broken for Pecola. The ending was unexpected and I felt it made it worth reading. I felt some of the book was a little disjointed. I got confused about the point of a few characters. I loved Ms. Morrison's use of descriptive terms. Many phrases are like poetry. Overall, a very enjoyable but sad read. I would recommend to others.

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