God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
(Knopf, 2015, 178 pages)
When I heard there was a new Toni Morrison book coming out I knew that I’d be reading it. Her writing is lyrical and profound. As a reader you can’t help but admire her way with words. After I started reading I quickly realized that the book was going to fall far short of my expectations. Her gift with words was still there, her writing was still powerful at times, but the story just felt incomplete. It felt like both the characters and the plot could have done with some more fleshing out.
Bride was born to parents who were so light they easily could have passed for white. That was what made it so shocking that she was born so incredibly dark. Her mother could hardly stand to touch her and her father decided not to stick around. Despite never feeling accepted by her mother, Bride grew up to be a successful young woman, launching her own cosmetics line. In the midst of launching her line Bride’s boyfriend leaves her, she has a rough interaction with a woman from her past, and she finds herself experiencing strange and inexplicable bodily changes.
As the story progresses Bride decides to try and find her ex, who left with no real explanation. Her journey to find him parallels what amounts to a journey to find herself.
There were so many flaws in the story that it was hard trying to summarize things. There are characters that seem to be important but that we know very little about. Despite being set in the present-ish day, aspects of the story don’t line up. God Help the Child just felt unfinished to me, which was disappointing.
If you’re a Morrison fan I think you’ll feel similarly to me, but you never know. If you’re new to Morrison, I’d recommend picking up titles from her backlist. God Help the Child doesn’t do its author justice.