Beloved: Chapter 1 – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Welcome to this old haunted house.

Review (with Spoilers)

This is my 5th Toni Morrison book and if there is one thing I’ve learned thus far is, as hard as some of her books are to read, there is much satisfaction. As for the first chapter, I do find myself a bit confused as I try to grasp the who’s who of the story, since many names are flung about and reading Morrison is sometimes like trying to follow along with someone who talks fast with a diverse vocabulary. But still, with the idea of a 2 year old baby haunting a home which the mother doesn’t want to leave, and daughter sort of can’t, it sets up an odd introduction to say the least.

Characters & Story

The story of this chapter focuses on introducing Sethe, as well as her daughter Denver. They live in Cincinnati, Ohio practically in the middle of nowhere. Formerly their house was filled with bodies, but now it is just them and the ghost of Sethe’s baby girl, who she may have killed. As for the former bodies which filled the house, if they didn’t run away they died. Denver’s grandma, Baby Suggs is one of the most recently departed, and seemingly she is part of the reason the family is within the house. As for the other former occupants, those would be Sethe’s two sons who got tired of the nonsense the two year old caused around the house, which seemingly alienated the family to the point visitors were scarce.

However, on the day we are introduced to these characters a man named Paul D. Garner comes to visit. With his visit comes old memories of a place called Sweet Home. The place where grandma Suggs found her husband Halle, and chose him amongst the other men of Sweet Home who strangely, for a Morrison book, didn’t take to her and abuse her on sight. Instead, they abused cows. But still, with Sethe having company, and Denver usually ostracized, this causes some friction in which Denver seems to want to share her misery, of which Mr. Garner understands, but isn’t able to do much about.

Making for a rather odd beginning. But being that Morrison is definitely a writer who doesn’t have much in the way of peers who you can compare her to, I feel guaranteed that her usual unique style will be appealing. I just hope it doesn’t take me as long to read as Song of Solomon.

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