Toni Morrison’s fierce and provocative novel exposes the damage adults wreak on children, and how this echoes through the generations.
Sweetness wants to love her child, Bride, but she struggles to love her as a mother should.
Bride, now glamorous, grown up, ebony-black and panther-like, wants to love her man, Booker, but she finds herself betrayed by a moment in her past, a moment borne of a desperate burn for the love of her mother. Booker cannot fathom Bride’s depths, with his own love-lorn past bending him out of shape. Can they find a way through the damage wrought on their blameless childhood souls, to light and happiness, free from pain?
BY THE NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVED
‘Haunting. . . Moving. . . Fearless. . . . God Help the Child yet again proves that Toni Morrison is an icon’ Bustle
Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We are awestruck by Toni Morrison’s ability to write about unspeakable horrors in ways that are startling, incandescent and unshakable. The Nobel Prize–winning author of Beloved and The Bluest Eye—blazing depictions of racism’s legacy—transfixed us with God Help the Child, a slender novel that packs a knockout punch. A chorus of voices narrates the story of Bride, a glamorous cosmetics executive reeling from a lover’s rejection. Taking us on shocking and revelatory tangents, Morrison explores the ripple effects of childhood trauma.
In Morrison's short, emotionally-wrenching novel, her first since 2012's Home, a mother learns about the damage adults do to children and the choices children make as they grow to suppress, express, or overcome their shame. The story begins with the birth of Lula Ann Bridewell, a midnight black baby whose mother cannot stand to touch her. Grown-up Lula Ann transforms herself into Bride, a stiletto-wearing, Jaguar-driving California executive with dark skin proudly accentuated by stylish white clothing. Amid preparations for the launch of her signature cosmetics line, Bride offers a gift-bag of cash and cosmetics to parolee Sofia Huxley, the kindergarten teacher Bride accused of sexual abuse 15 years before, earning Bride maternal approval and Sofia her prison sentence. Sofia's angry rejection of Bride's present, coinciding with the departure of Bride's lover, inspires such self-doubt that Bride fears regressing back into Lula Ann. A car accident lands her in a culvert, where a little girl keeping dark secrets of her own comes to the rescue. Nobel laureate Morrison explores characteristic themes of people held captive by inner struggles; the delusion of racism; violence and redemption. Her literary craftsmanship endures with sparse language, precise imagery, and even humor. This haunting novel displays a profound understanding of American culture and an unwavering sense of justice and forgiveness.