It goes without saying that Toni Morrison can turn a phrase. I read this book as a little girl no more than 11 or 12 years old and remember trying to cut through the imagery and metaphors to get to the action. I couldn't really understand the need for multiple points of view. And once I found out the whole plot of the story was given in the first page, I was done with the book. But now, having a greater desire to understand the motivation behind human action, being able to appreciate that things are never what they appear at face value, developing a greater love of this device called language and being able to recognize pieces of myself in each of Morrison's characters, *The Bluest Eye* has become one of my favorites. Morrison de-villainizes her antagonists in a way that make the reader really consider the ingredients of the simple dichotomy of "good" and "bad." I was also pleasantly surprised to find some of my favorite quotes were pulled from this book. I am glad to be falling in love with Toni all over again.
When you read a lot of books, you really do find out that they're really all the same 5-10 stories told in different ways. It's the job of the author to make you think his way is the best: the most innovative, the most poetic, the most thrilling, the most heart pulling. Octavia Butler has definitely put a new spin on an old tale. Here the slave novella meets science fiction. And I can't say I know many authors are brave enough to tread such peculiar territory. To her credit, Ms. Butler does keep her reader engaged but sometimes it's only because the reader is hoping the absurdity will make some sense along the way. Inconsistent in prose and not particularly lyrical, this book won't do much to quench a thirst for the poetic. But the story does drive in action from start to bizarre finish. It's a fun summer read and brings some interesting history to light but not one I couldn't live without.
Very rarely do I come across a book that I regret reading in the comfort of my own home. But every once in a while I come across a story so full and so ensnaring that I wish I had someone to read it with just so all the things I'm feeling can find voice through sharing with another. *The Darkest Child* is indeed one of these stories. Absolutely horrifying at times while beautifully human at others, Delores Phillips weaves a tale that crosses many parameters of oppression while still allowing her protagonist to be the child she is. Admittedly, I was expecting a "race" book. But after a while I thought it was a "mother-daughter" book. Still later I found in it a "coming of age" book. And yet further, a profound look at the effects of poverty, the importance of family, and the skewed expressions of passion we sometimes call Love. Yes, Delores Phillips' first work is all of these and yet not singularly any one category. I do recommend reading this with a friend or book club. One: because it is a book that begs for multiple perspectives. Two: because you will feel so emotionally wrought by the end that you will be dying for someone to talk to and if no one else has read it, you will find yourself at a loss.