The Bluest Eye

Knopf. Mar. 2007. 224p. pap. $16. ISBN 9780307278449.
Gr 10 Up–Even though the story is told from the perspective of a young Black girl, Claudia, this narrative focuses on another young Black girl named Pecola, who believes that her impoverished family’s Blackness is the key to her failure to thrive. She prays often for blue eyes and believes that her family life will improve if she gets them. While circumstances never do improve for Pecola, through her experiences, Claudia learns more about her own identity. Morrison’s writing provides adept character creation, well-paced and rhythmically authentic dialogue, and a masterly use of irony and metaphor. The author presents an ugly picture of the world—violence, death, destruction, and rape. But there is also a beauty that goes beyond society’s understanding of what beauty is or can be. A riveting portrayal that centers the experience of Black Americans in the mid-20th century, and offers an incisive view of mainstream culture from a Black perspective. While not portrayed with much detail, scenes of sexual abuse will be troubling to some readers.
VERDICT Gritty, often dark, and ultimately jubilant, the novel offers an essential key to understanding American culture.

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