This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
The second Morrison book on the 50Nifty list, this one (her first novel) is a sad story about the life of Precola Breedlove and her family in Ohio in the 1940s. There’s a lot of difficult subject matter in the novel, and it’s not really a book you can say you “like” because of all the hardship, but Morrison’s writing is to be commended – although at times it can be as blunt and shocking as the events themselves. Many of Morrison’s stories take place in the area surrounding the Ohio River Valley, where she grew up, and the reader gets the sense of knowing the place well, so because of that and the racial and political tensions present in the book, this is a good fit for Ohio.
In the novel itself, Precola’s lifelong dream is to have blonde hair and blue eyes, in order to better fit in to her surroundings and in order not to be harassed by those around her, which is powerful commentary on the injustice of the world she lives in. What’s sad to think is how many people today might still have that same dream, as well.