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In her Afterword to this book, Toni Morrison writes that she wanted The Bluest Eye to be moving rather than touching. In my opinion. she certainly achieved her aim. This is a story which explores some of humanity's darkest issues: racism and child abuse in its many forms, and Morrison doesn't pussy-foot around these issues, she confronts them head on, and in graphic detail.
Pecola, a young black girl, believes she is ugly, and that having blue eyes (like the white girls she admires) will make her beautiful. She is bullied at school and neglected by her family. Eventually, she is raped by her father and becomes pregnant with his child, and, after being ostracised by her community, she finally succumbs to severe mental illness.
What makes this story both more and less bearable for me is that Morrison gives each of her characters a history which allowed me to understand (and sometimes sympathise with) even the vilest of the offenders in Pecola's life.
The prose itself is a joy to read, which makes the subject matter seem all the more dire.
A beautiful rendition of ugliness.