While still well ahead of schedule, this review is coming in a bit late, because I actually finished the book weeks ago. I devoured it while on vacation, but in trying to get back into the swing of things post-vacation, I neglected to collect my thoughts on this masterful work by Toni Morrison in words until now.
Toni Morrison inspires me because she lives outside of any one particular genre in a space all her own that she has created, and she does it beautifully. She crafts concise tales that offer deep, rich views into the lives of the characters she creates. Whenever I read something she's written, I feel so sure that what she is writing about surely must have happened, word for word, just as she's written it. God Help the Child is no different.
Each narrator has such a distinct voice, and each of them help us to piece together the patchwork quilt that is Bride's (our main character's) life. It is interesting though, because each narrator is telling their own story, but somehow knowing their story, offers us further insight into who Bride is, so that she becomes this omnipresence throughout the novel.
One of the characters says "What you do to children matters," and it is amazing how that statement is carried throughout the entire book. You are able to trace the mannerisms, thoughts and ways of being of both Bride and Booker, back to specific instances in their childhood. You see how these events evolve into their perceptions and belief systems creating the adults they are in the present. Who we are as adults, stems from who we were as children. The way we process our childhoods determines the people we become, and Morrison illustrates this exceptionally well.
Finally, I don't want to spoil the story for anyone, but I have not been as intrigued by Morrison's use of magical realism as I was while reading God Help the Child, since I read Beloved. I won't go into any more detail than that, but suffice to say it is incredible.