God Help the Child

God Help the Child

[a Novel]

Book - 2015
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scribby
Oct 19, 2019

Interesting, beautifully written in several viewpoints, and mysterious (the main "implausible", which may affect more than one character, is left unexplained), this short novel is also a profoundly disturbing look at life, love, racism, standards of beauty, and how children are raised. It will linger in your mind long after the short amount of time it takes to read it.

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mclarjh
Aug 19, 2019

Strange characters and confused story.

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reinenoire
Mar 27, 2019

I finished the novel in 2 days..it is very suspenseful and interesting. I felt very connected to the main character at some points (being a dark skinned woman, raised in the same type of society with warped beauty ideals). The ending was OK.. I wish there was more (maybe because I enjoyed the characters and their backgrounds/relationship. The theme of children was constant throughout. Some disturbing parts about child abuse (nothing graphic, just sad). It definitely makes you think about how we and society raise children.

RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Whether this novel, Morrison’s eleventh, ranks among her previous best work is irrelevant. If judging God Help the Child on its own merits, it possesses qualities of a powerful book. It has complex, fascinating characters. It has mysterious settings and multilayered plotlines. It has brilliant touches of magic and irony. And, of course, it has Morrison’s inimitable prose, which bursts with lyricism and verve, once again distinguishing her as a brilliant writer.

The story follows Bride and her tumultuous relationships with both her mother, Sweetness, and the man of her dreams, Booker. The narrative alternates from each of their voices and also from the vantage points of other memorable characters along the way. In addressing child abuse, race perceptions, and violence, Morrison produces a work that delivers the same type of blistering truth and unsettling emotion that have been trademarks throughout her career.

This is an intense novel. It is about enduring love and its many obstacles. It is about lifelong anguish and how the past impacts the future. It is about what parents do to their children. It is about the power of secrets and lies and how human conscience will eventually force the truth to surface. Ultimately, it is about compassion and forgiveness. In the end, Morrison shows how, even when the wreckage caused from so much horror and sorrow seems insurmountable to overcome, the world forever has hope.

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Newmommy09
Jan 13, 2018

A deeply powerful, moving book. I am thankful I found, and read this book. I love the characters, especially that of Queen and Booker. How people misunderstand each other, hurt, love and all the ways in which people are so complex. This touches upon ugly subject matter, but still the story can weave in aspects of beauty. Love your children and tell them how much you love them.

Franln Jun 19, 2017

I like Toni Morrison's writing style. This is a very strange story but intriguing nonetheless.

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abcDena
Oct 02, 2016

I'm also listening to this book...still listening. It took some weird turns in the last quarter and I'm not sure what to make of it. I really enjoyed the book, and was so intrigued by Bride's character that I didn't want the book to end.

CMLibrary_sfetzer May 17, 2016

Set in present day California, God Help the Child follows the story of Bride—a girl whose mother never loved her due to the dark tone of her skin. Facing constant rejection from her mother as a child, Bride made a choice which offered some temporary relief. Bride’s choice continues to shape her well into adulthood and leads her on a path that intersects with the lives of some truly interesting people. Not a single word is wasted in this brief novel which is told in varying points of view. Morrison approaches serious issues such as racial identity, child abuse, and acceptance with an unparalleled grace. Fans of Morrison’s previous work will enjoy this more modern but no less powerful new novel.

MirandaRiley8796 May 04, 2016

What a waste of time, could hardly finish it, it went nowhere! Disappointed doesn't begin to cover it!!

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sharon711
Jan 28, 2016

A powerful story about how we are loved and raised as children affects us as adults.

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Reclak
Nov 25, 2015

I agree with the Guardian's review of this book. Morrison set the tone early but left so many things dangling. These devices promise to lend insight to the character's conflict but fail to do so as they are employed in the novel. In my opinion. I am a huge fan of the way Morrison as an American writer uses the fantastic, mystical and implausible. She weaves in these elements firmly rooting and orienting the drive of her storytelling. She did this so well in her previous novels from "Sula" and "Song of Solomon" to "Beloved". I guess I was expecting the same here.

I am such a fan that I can let Toni M. be Toni in new and different ways. Perhaps "God Help the Child" represents a stage of her metamorphosis. She has never seemed to be afraid of tackling disturbing themes of a sexual nature and is at her finest when writing the internal conflicts of strong women. Her pen reveals, leaves, somuch for contemplation as you read the work. However, as a reader I recognize that a large part of the experience, the interaction while engaged, is what the reader brings to the material as it filters through one's consciousness. The book undergoes its final edit in the mind of the reader. This is fine if there is enough plausible material presented.

Disharmony, loose ends, uneven writing. A more interesting tale to be told is in answer to the question, "Why DID you write this book?"

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voisjoe1_0
Sep 26, 2015

Toni Morrison portrayed African-Americans in the 19th century with Beloved, the 20th century with The Bluest Eye, and now the 21st century with God Help the Child. In this novel, Morrison deals with skin darkness of African-Americans (a subject mainly unknown outside the African-American community), careers for African-American women and predation of children. It is a very good, but not great novel dealing with these subjects. The structure is somewhat unusual in that the chapter titles indicate which character is narrating that portion of the novel (with a few sections being told by the author).

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brangwinn
Sep 06, 2015

Read the lines about how you treat children carefully in the first few pages, for they are words that come back to haunt the characters time after time. The storyline from various perspectives helps to create the important message of this book. You do not have to let the actions (or sins) or others or even your actions in the past force you into a life you don’t want. You have the power to create a life you want, even though it may not be one that has wealth or fame. As usual, Morrison’s characters are varied, realistic and thought-provoking. This is one of my most favorite Toni Morrison novels.

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readsalot80
Jul 24, 2015

Bride a dark skinned black woman who was raised by a light skinned mother. She was strict with her to help her survive in the world. Bride remembers the only time her mother touched her was when she testified in court and put a teacher in jail. The pedophilia in this book is hard to read but realistic as I learned as a nurse. I liked that the book was told through the characters of the book. The ending was a bit unbelievable to me but the rest of book I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others to read.

A superficial story of adult success despite childhood neglect. There is no remorse anywhere and a final sad knell for any future children born to these sad people. I don't know why Morrison chose this theme but it did not work for me.

madison382 Jul 11, 2015

Another deep book by Toni Morrison.

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writermala
Jun 26, 2015

"God Help The Child" is an interesting love story. The book shows Sweetness' love for her daughter bride - a love which does not show itself; a love which is strict and stern to enable Bride to survive as a Black woman in this racist world. Unfortunately, Bride does not love this as a child. Descriptions of pedophilia seem unnecessary but are part of the plot. The novel is just the right size to be enthralling and satisfying. I loved it.

Sarjay12356 Jun 16, 2015

I am a Morrison fan but to my disappointment I found the quality of the writing in this book to be at about a junior high school level. Her descriptions of the main character verged on literary erotica-style, with no clear development of her character. It was highly unrealistic that this woman would be as young as she is supposed to be and I found her career and all of her relationships completely unbelievable. It also seemed relatively ridiculous that every significant character in the story seemed to be a victim of pedophilia.

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MustHaveBook
Jun 13, 2015

I'd say Lisa Tofts of Tofts Reviews has done great justice with the accuracy of story and her comments pretty well match my own feelings though Toft has a delightful way of capturing what one would like to see in a review of a noteworthy piece of writing such as Toni Morrison's God Help the Child. I say God Bless Toni Morrison and her literary brilliance.

JayRay30 Jun 13, 2015

Read it for yourself...I guess I missed something because I'm not feeling it at all. There were two many unnecessary situations. To many questions that you have to make up answers to for yourself.

lilly29 Jun 12, 2015

Intriguing. Hard to put down once you start reading. Fitting and trending now!

JamesBayRidge May 26, 2015

Overrated shallow novel where nothing is solved and the bitterness remains from beginning to end.

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dmcwashington
May 14, 2015

This book is absolutely amazing.

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lisatofts
May 05, 2015

This very enjoyable story is short, sweet and covers just enough of what you want (the good stuff). There are novels that go on and on, trying to create this other world, life, existence that, in most cases, is truly not needed. Morrison always delights with fresh topics, intriguing characters and entertaining plot twists.
However, there are a few moments where foreshadowing incidents or private and upcoming events did not happen; which made these revelations confusing to the story. Or Morrison ends up going into very little detail, making what was once a disclosure into a minor point.
The tidbits where Bride is turning back into a little girl is interesting. Morrison uses well-chosen words in order to make this physical alteration absorbing, rather than gross and perverted. Some readers may not like these bits, but they are necessary in telling Bride’s story. I found them captivating.
Morrison creates a sort of poetic allusion with the racist name-calling the main character has endured in the past. This keeps the reader enthralled in the meat of the story and not hung up on the discriminatory remarks and actions.
“Whether he was lying under her body, hovering above it or holding her in his arms, her blackness thrilled him. Then he was certain that he not only held the night, he owned it, and if the night he held in his arms was not enough, he could always see starlight in her eyes.” Morrison makes love so beautiful.

-- Tofts Reviews


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