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The Bluest Eye (Vintage International) by [Toni Morrison]
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The Bluest Eye (Vintage International) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,438 ratings
Part of: Vintage International (5 Books)

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Length: 208 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“So precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry.”  —The New York Times

“A profoundly successful work of fiction. . . . Taut and understated, harsh in its detachment, sympathetic in its truth . . . it is an experience.” —The Detroit Free Press


“This story commands attention, for it contains one black girl’s universe.” —Newsweek

Amazon.com Review

Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 2000: Originally published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the author expressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure: "It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalk up this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly high standards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if not sophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetorical sweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjects that would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historical memory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself.

Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:

You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.
There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.

This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pin too much of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which gives The Bluest Eye the sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one. --James Marcus --This text refers to the paperback edition.


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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
2,438 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2016
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Top international reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing, gut-wrenching
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 2, 2017
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Jacqueline
5.0 out of 5 stars Great piece of literary work ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2019
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Pauline Butcher Bird
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2019
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Michael Clark
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2018
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Robyn Jaye
5.0 out of 5 stars so wonderfully written....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 28, 2019
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Donny Rock
2.0 out of 5 stars Social deprivation and its possible sequelae
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is now it was.Written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2019
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Essuelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book. Is all
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 5, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Provocatively sad
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 4, 2019
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AMA LIVE!
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for ANYONE with eyes (or ears to be read to)!!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2012
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2017
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Jamshid Nikkhah
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent hard cover copy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 16, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 12, 2016
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Sarah T. M. Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Different and totally original
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 4, 2019
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The Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars A plunge into ourselves
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2018
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