Does anyone actually like, I mean really like, the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison? I ask this after our discussion on dialect being used as a storytelling device the other day. It got a lot of feedback and most of that feedback that involved this particular book was negative. I’m not going to say it necessarily surprised me because I didn’t really like the book either, but it was curious. So I wanted to discuss it a bit further. And by "it" I meant this book.
Now, I thought Beloved was a very important book to have read. I was glad to have read it. But I couldn’t say that I liked it. Interesting how that stuff works, isn't it? It's only happened with a few books. It was a very challenging and disturbing read. Any of you who have read the book I'm sure can understand what I mean. It's about a fugitive slave woman that kills her one daughter and attempts to murder her other children when she's caught by authorities and then spends the rest of the story haunted. See? Disturbing. And the dialect was very difficult to get through. More difficult than any other book that I can recall right now actually. But I cannot say that I particularly liked it.
But, if I recall correctly, the reason I picked up the book in the first place was because it had gotten so much critical praise. I mean, it won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Times declared it to be the one of the best works of fiction in the last 25 years. It said these things right on the back cover.
But almost everyone I talk to thinks this is certainly NOT one of Morrison’s best works. So that begs the question then, what do the critics see in it that almost everyone else does not? Is it the subject matter? But it’s not like Morrison’s other books don’t deal in grim and disturbing subject matters as well. What do you all think? Or who out there agrees with the critics? Who thinks this IS her best book? All opinions welcome!