God Help the Child Book Review

God Help the Child

3 out of 5 stars

I selected this book because of a challenge on bookstagram that said to pick a book where the only image on the front cover was the title of the book. I searched the library for what felt like forever to find a book that fit this description. It was a lot harder than it sounds. I finally came across this book and decided to take it.

Normally I wouldn’t even venture into the adult section of the library unless there was a book I knew I needed there. Even when looking for non-fiction books in that area I make sure it has a YA sticker on it but I knew that YA was going to have beautiful covers not simple ones. I definitely didn’t want a classic so I knew adult fiction was the way to go for this challenge.

God Help the Child is a book told through many different perspectives all whom encounter the main character, Bride. This is a story of the ways that childhood shapes who you are as an adult and continues to affect you beyond your childhood years.

I got halfway through the book and am feeling very neutral about it, not great but also not hating it. I mean at the halfway point I feel for Bride and what she witnessed as a young child but I’m not really sure what the plot of the book is. As I read further on I start to think that maybe this book doesn’t need a plot. It’s more so showing you how childhood trauma can affect an adult.

I like how the story is told in different perspectives and shifts from first person and third person. Normally I would find that confusing but I think in this book it lends well to the story. I enjoy hearing first hand from Bride about what is currently happening in her life and then having it shift so that there’s a narrator telling you her story.

I love how descriptive each scene is without having too much narration and how all dialogue really moves the story along. I love being able to picture how each of these characters look and like how their skin colors are described.

Something else that I enjoy in the book is the way that the author illustrates childhood trauma affecting you later in life. I don’t want to spoil the book so you’ll have to read it to see what happens to Bride as she remembers her childhood.

There are moments in this book in which I am appalled by the way Bride has been treated throughout her childhood and by the things she has witnessed. It is in these moments that I wonder if this book is set in the past but I read the description and it reminds me that this is current time. I wonder if these occurrences happen because of the city it takes place in or maybe I’m just naive?

It’s hard for me to say the kind of people who I would recommend this book to because I think any adult who enjoys reading would enjoy this book. It’s a short quick read but the message in the story is profound.

About the Book: Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish … Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother … Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother … and Sweetness, Bride’s mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

About the Author: Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” 

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best known are her novels The Bluest Eye Song of Solomon , and Beloved , which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. In 2001 she was named one of “The 30 Most Powerful Women in America” by Ladies’ Home Journal.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at Amazon or look for it at your local library.

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