50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 20
Author: Toni Morrison
In Beloved we are introduced to Sethe, a former runaway slave living in post civil war Cincinnati with her daughter Denver. Sethe and Denver lead quiet, simple lives the only read oddity is that the house they live in, 124 is haunted. Sethe believes that the ghost is sad, but everyone else knows that the spirit is angry and hellbent on revenge. When Paul D, another former slave from the plantation known as Sweet Home, arrives the lives of Denver and Sethe change forever. Paul D confronts the ghost head on, chasing it away from 124, or so he thinks.
You see, shortly after he banishes the ghost from 124 a young woman arrives on the doorstop, ravished with thirst and barely able to speak. She spells her name, B-E-L-O-V-E-D, which doesn’t clue anyone in to who she is but Denver. Who is strange but astute in her own ways. Beloved is the physical embodiment of Sethe’s older daughter, whose proper name we are never given. She is only referred to as “Crawling Already”, a reference to the fact that when Sethe was forced to send her children to freedom ahead of herself, and when she finally joined them at 124 her daughter was “Crawling Already”. Beloved’s intentions with Sethe are not sweet, she is full of anger and revenge at the mother who she feels abandoned her. She is demanding of everyone, taking all that she can, until there is nothing else.
This book was fantastic, Michael, my fiance, was impressed that I was reading a ghost story and enjoying it. Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t read (or watch) a lot of horror. I actually liked the fact that it was an emotional ghost story. I liked the blind righteousness of Sethe, her unwillingness to submit herself and her children to a life of slavery. Her act was brutal, and everyone seemed so appalled by it, but I think I understood Sethe’s view of it as an act of love. The only downside is that this book dragged on and on.
Overall Rating: 4/5