Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paradise by Toni Morrison

Reviewed by Julie

Published: 1997

It's about: The book follows a little town called Ruby, founded by a group of people interested in keeping themselves private and self-sufficient as a community. Most of the book takes place in the 1960s-70s. These people are the descendants of slaves and plan on staying as purely "eight-rock" as possible. Just outside their town is the convent, which actually isn't a convent, but a large school built for Native American girls decades beforehand. The convent now houses an assortment of lost women, having run from all kinds of interesting things. Paradise begins with the shooting of one of these women by a townsman, and leads you through narratives of each and every woman to end where it began.

I thought: This book was great. Hard to get into, and depressing (you can always count on Morrison for a good old depresser) but very informative, with characters as rich as you'll ever read. Each of the women in the convent, Ruby, Gigi, Mavis, Seneca, and Divine, all follow terribly interesting paths to get to where they end up. Each of their voices is distinct and flowing in the river of all the other voices in the book. Seriously, great. You know those books you jot down phrases from, because of the beautiful wording? This is one of those books.

Verdict: Stick this baby on the shelf.

Warnings: There is no actual SEX, but there are truckloads of insinuations. This isn't a book for someone looking for a light read, very heavy and emotional, but just darned beautiful.

On another note, I ran across a book yesterday I'm dying to read--here's where I found it and here it is on Amazon. I'm a sucker for essays and food, both.