I’ve recently finished reading “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morisson and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I first heard about the book from Hayley’s YouTube page, Pages of Hayley, and I was intrigued because I had just finished The Vanishing Half and I wanted to read Passing as well as this book because I thought they were similar. The topic of colorism intrigues me because it’s something that I deal with as a dark skinned black woman. When I saw this book mentioned in one of Jack Edwards’s YouTube videos, it made me finally press the buy button in my Amazon cart.
However, he mentioned something that I wasn’t aware of: it’s a banned book. Is it banned by a state or school system? I had no idea but I was about to find out why. Plus, I’ve never read a book by this author so I felt like I was left out of the loop. What did I think of this tale? Read on to find out.
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Pecola Breedlove–an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others–prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
This book was so many layers of messed up! I get that maybe it was the time period of that stuff that happened but still it was tragic and there are lots of triggers in this book as well. Thats the first thing I want to stress to you the reader: BE AWARE OF THE TRIGGERS. This book is trigger warning central! The crime acts against children is what brought down my rating personally but omg it is intense and tragic. Just know that you are warned!
It was pointed out on many occasions how ugly the Breedlove family was. It was written that “No one could have convinced them that they were not relentlessly and aggressively ugly.” Yikes! One of the things that blows my mind, especially with colorism, is how our own black community puts others down because of their darker hue. I’m sad to say that I have bought into that same mentality. Not the putting others down but more so trying to avoid things that is connected to being dark skinned. It’s our learned self-hatred that needs to be broken down.
Like even the little girl Maureen was prejudiced against the color of dark black skin. She herself was mixed race and felt like she looked better and was better than those who were darker than her. She screamed at some girls “I am cute! And you ugly! Black and ugly black e mos. I am cute!”. And it was the adults in her life that gave her that outlook due to how well she was treated.
Pecola was attacked at a house and the mother who owned the house had certain views of black people, even though she was black herself. She said that there was a distinction between colored people and “n****rs”. “Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud” according to Geraldine, the little boy Junior’s mother. First of all, I hated Junior because he harmed a black cat and y’all know how I feel about black cats! Anyway, it was no surprise that when her sone lied on Pecola and attacked her that she screamed at the poor little girl “you nasty little black bitch. Get out of my house.” Like, m’am really?
Pecola actually broke my heart. Just her story in general. She went through a lot in her short life (don’t worry she didn’t die, she just a child in this book). It’s mentioned that she would stare in the mirror and wonder why her ugliness made people hate her and ignored and despised by teachers and other students. She felt alone. All she wanted was to feel loved and beautiful and unfortunately, that never happened.
I guess I’m also frustrated with the fact that I was looking for answers and I thought this book would give me that. Maybe the “ending” was my answer but I honestly felt confused. Even with reading the forward by the author I was hopeful but also frustrated because this book wasn’t giving me the answers I was searching for. There was no solution. I won’t spoil the book but just know, I felt empty a bit!
I gave it a 3/5 and…I can see why it’s banned at some schools. I’m not sure if I can recommend this because on one hand it’s a classic but on the other hand…it’s intense. I guess I’ll say beware of the triggers but do what you will with my review and make up your own mind about this book.
Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Publication Date: May 8, 2007 (First Published June 1,1970)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics, Literature
Trigger Warnings: Racism, Incest, Sexual Assault/Rape, Molestation
Buy it here: Bookshop.org