[REVIEW] Sula, Toni Morrison

(Buy it HERE.)

(In lieu of the usual review, I present to you the explanation of this book that I gave to a non-American friend who has never read Toni Morrison before.)ā €
šŸ“–ā €
“This book? Yeah, it’s good, but I’m not sure you’d like it. It’s by this writer who won a Pulitzer prize & was famous for writing about Black people & racism, but really her books aren’t about that at all, they’re about Black people’s lives during real historical America and racism is just…a part of that. I never get the feeling Morrison is trying to make statements about race in America. She’s just expressing its reality as a factor in the lives of Black people.”ā €

“What’s it about? Uh, well, there’s this segregated town in the 1920s & these 2 little girls are born into really different families but still become friends. They have this really innocent, nostalgic American girlhood full of ice cream parlors, climbing trees and girl talk. Then one day they’re out playing & accidentally just up and kill another kid, keep it a secret and…hey, you know what? I just realized that this book is *really* violent. The thing with the kid isn’t even the worst, or the most important. There’s just…death around every corner in this book, and if not death then pain, or some kind of suffering.. There’s lots of sex too. The violence is more shocking & disturbing than the sex, of course. Like, there’ll be a peaceful, mundane scene then sudden shocking violence. Two girls are playing in a field, then suddenly someone drowns. A lady is washing vegetables, then suddenly she’s burning to death. A mother tucks in her son and the next thing you know, he’s burning to death.There’s lots of burning to death in this book, and I kept having to put it down and go do something else to give my mind and emotions a break. The author said the book is about friendship but it seems to be more specifically about cruelty and sadness in relationships. And the title character, Sula–I’m not sure she makes any sense. She’s just…sociopathic, really. If this was a movie, it’d be a horror flick & she would be the villain. Her thoughts are explained thoroughly but it still feels like a creepy little theme should play every time she appears on a page. But it never really feels like her character arc is resolved entirely so the ending seemed flat, despite being beautifully written.ā €
šŸ¤·šŸ¾ā€ā™€ļøā €
“But the other characters & the setting are really interesting, and the writing is pure genius. The town’s whole life cycle is told with so much rich, sensory detail in only 170 pages and the words are just beautiful, even when they’re describing horrible things. There’s something brilliant about the way that Morrison uses these beautiful words to juxtapose mundanity and horror and keep the reader thinking and feeling, but she did it better in Beloved. In some ways, this book feels like a test run for that one. ā €
šŸ™…šŸ¾ā€ā™€ļøā €
“But if you don’t already know Morrison, maybe don’t read this book first. Try Beloved or The Bluest Eye. This one is still very good, but I think you need to be familiar with the author first to enjoy what she does in this book. Come back to it, though, once you have a feel for Morrison’s style, because it really is profound, despite the shock of violence.”

“Yeah, sure, you can borrow it.”
šŸ“šā €
4 stars and a better explanation to Sula. šŸ˜

(Thanks for reading, beautiful people. If you want to give Sula a try, check your local library or purchase it from Bookshop here. I’ve made a list of essential Morrison reading as well, which you can find here. This blog is a Bookshop affiliate, so if you click through and make any purchases, a commission will be earned. Peace!)


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