Saturday, June 25, 2016

God Help the Child

God Help the Child
Toni Morrison
Alfred A. Knoff      
Penguin Random House
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-307-594174
$ 24.95
192 pages

"Her color is a cross she will always carry.  But it's not my fault.  It's not my fault.  It's not my fault.  It's not."
How can skin color determine your path in life?   It does. Even in those with darker skin, how dark or light is very important.
Her mother knew that skin color would be a problem.  The was extremely dark, better known as Sudanese black. How did this happen?  She is light-skinned as is her husband.  How do two light-skinned blacks have a very dark skinned baby girl?
The mother's husband worked as a porter on the train.  Obviously he had been away from home for stretches of time.  What is the obvious conclusion?   Added to that the baby girl has hair that is straight with a little natural curl.  How could this baby be belong to this father?  DNA did not exist in those days so appearances led to logical conclusions, whether or not they are correct.
This is how Lula Ann entered the world.  Even her mother distanced herself from the young girl.  With the difference in their skin color, her mother insisted Lula Ann call her "sweetness", not mother.   She believed that others would cause problems for them if they knew the truth. What would people think about a light-skinned woman with a dark baby?  What would people think about a dark-skinned girl with a light-skinned mother?
How does anyone become a successful adult when they have been rejected their entire life?
Surprisingly Lula Ann Bridewell is successful in business.  She is a regional manager at Sylvia, Inc. which is a small cosmetics company.  One of their cosmetic lines is hers, You, Girl: Cosmetics for Your Personal Millennium  focuses on all make-up for all complexion colors.
She realizes the need for appearances and quickly thinks Lula Ann is not a prosperous sounding name.  Logically, she changed her name to  match her personality.  Now she is just called Bride.
In the business world she is successful but a failure with her personal life.
To someone who seems to have the world at her feet, her personal life is a complete failure and causes Bride many problems.  Probably one of her biggest issues is guilt and trust.
Haunting Bride is her guilt from a childhood choice that ruined someone's life.  Now she hopes to makeup for what she did years ago.  When someone wants forgiveness does that force the other person to give them what they want?   Can someone be responsible for what they did as a child?
Can someone be responsible for being born the wrong color?
God Help the Child is an enthralling novel.   Unusually, this particular Toni Morrison novel is set in present day rather than the past. The character development is outstanding and a story line that is hypnotic proving that Morrison is a legendary storyteller.
Toni Morrison currently is the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.   She has won numerous prestigious awards for her novels such as Beloved and Song of Solomon including a Nobel Prize for Literature, a Pulitzer, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
God Help the Child is a memorable story that stays with you long after reading the book.  The lessons about life such as dealing with guilt, blame and forgiveness are enriching to each person who reads this jewel.

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