Review: God Help The Child

God Help the Child

God Help the Child
By Toni Morrison
Vintage, Paperback, 9780307740922, January 2016, 192pp.

The Short of It:

What you say to a child, whether good or bad, affects them long into adulthood.

The Rest of It:

A baby born with blue-black skin is raised by her mother, Sweetness, who can easily pass for white. The difference in skin color is a constant burden to Sweetness, who takes it upon herself to “toughen” the girl up. Perhaps, to save her from future hurt.

As the girl grows into a young woman, she assumes the name Bride and reinvents herself; embracing the skin color she’s been given. But the events of the past and the lack of affection she received as a child carry into her other relationships. Her boyfriend leaves her without any explanation, her friend sits in the wings waiting for the perfect opportunity to take over her business, and the relationship with her mother continues to test the boundaries of what a mother-daughter relationship should be.

God Help the Child is both the title of this book and Morrison’s plea to the reader. Her message is clear. What you say and you do to children leaves a mark and all of the characters in this book are examples of this. Although it’s a short read, I never felt as if it was too short or underdeveloped. Some of the members of my book club did feel that it was somewhat abbreviated in the telling but there was still plenty to discuss.

Of course, the writing is lovely. There were some passages that I just read over and over again because they were so beautifully written. For a book club read, you really can’t go wrong with Morrison.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

7 thoughts on “Review: God Help The Child”

  1. I haven’t read this one but, The Bluest Eyes was a favorite of mine. I read it 15 years ago and still remember where I was when I read it.

    1. I’ve read several of her books but have little memory of them. Isn’t that weird? A Mercy was the most recent, besides this one and I don’t remember the details at all. I think for me, her writing reads as poetry so I enjoy it at that moment but then the story slips away from me.

  2. I’ve been wanting to read this one, but have heard so many mixed reviews of it that I was on the fence about it. I’m glad you posted about it, because now I know that I will be reading it. Sounds like something I would really enjoy. I’ve read a few of Morrison’s works and they are always terrific. Her writing is just beautiful and emotional. Thanks, Ti 🙂

    1. I think you will like it. Someone in my group said that some people questioned if she even wrote this one herself but it definitely has her stamp on it. Maybe a different feel, because it’s set in the present day but I still felt like it was Morrison book.

  3. I am reading another Morrison book right now – A Mercy. This is my first by her and I am eager to explore more of her works. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll check out this one next.

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