Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review - Sula by: Toni Morrison

Title: Sula
Author: Toni Morrison
Publisher: Plume
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Source: Read Turkish copy


"Extravagantly beautiful...enormously, achingly alive...a howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitter."--New York Times

This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejected the life Nel has embraced, escaping to college, and submerging herself in city life. When she returns to her roots, it is as a rebel and a wanton seductress. Eventually, both women must face the consequences of their choices. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America.

"Enchanting...powerful."--Chicago Daily News

"The essential mysteries of death and sex, friendship and poverty are expressed with rare economy...exemplary."--Newsweek
My thoughts:

As I was halfway through Nobel-winning Toni Morrison's Sula, I'd uploaded a photo of the book on Instagram with the comment, "slap after slap in the face." Of course, I realize now that I was unaware of the many more slaps across the face to come until the end of the book. What Morrison tries to do with Sula is summarized like this: "she handles that mysterious friendship between women that's not dependent on sex, trying to show the wonderful wide of it. This friendship is so important that not even the smallest treason, even 'the stealing of a husband' should ruin it." This is such an accurate summary is I may so myself.

So, what will you find in this book?
  • The history of the Ohio neighborhood "The Bottom"
  • National Suicide Day, how it was founded, how it was celebrated-- or not
  • The story of Sula and Nel, who become friends when they're children and the stories of their weird families
  • The realization that even though the focus is on African-American woman, what's true for those women in the 1920's is unfortunately true for women of today
  • The way men see women, women's place in society and their relationships with men
  • A girl who watches her mother burn into flames without even blinking
  • A mother who believes the only way to save her son from the bad situation he's in is to kill him
  • A woman who sells one of her legs to get food for her children
  • Friendship, family, pain and hard-to-find happiness.
Toni Morrison is an author who doesn't mince her words; the way she writes about events and feelings are as naked and real as possible. Just like she does in The Bluest Eye, in Sula as well she lays before you how cruel life and people can be. She doesn't take the "let me sugarcoat this a bit" approach. She doesn't care if things get harrowing, doesn't care how much she might make you cry. And she will! Like I've said before, reading Sula is like being slapped back to back, multiple times. And while you're in pain, you find yourself questioning life and death and everything in between.
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