When choosing this book I was hoping to gain a perspective of what it truly meant to be black in the mid 1900’s. Unfortunately, this book did not fulfill that inquiry. Sula, by Toni Morrison describes a newly formed town called The Bottom, ironically in the tops of the mountains above a wealthy white community called Medallion. The families of main characters Nel and Sula are contrasted. Nel comes from a proper, stable home. Whereas Sula lives with both her mother, grandmother, three adopted children and numerous borders; all of whom seem to be known as unconventional and loose.
Through all this an unlikely friendship is formed. The two become inseparable until a horrific event occurs; one hot summer day Sula and Nel were playing by the lake with a boy they named Chicken Little. Sula took the boy by the hands and swung him until he slipped away and fell into the lake only to drown. The two swore to keep it a secret and since, they started to grow apart. In another accident Sula’s mother, Hannah, was in the yard where her dress caught on fire, burning her to death. Sula leaves The Bottom for ten years only to return as a stranger that people saw as evil because of her eccentric way of life. At this same time Nel settles down with her husband and kids. Sula’s hatred is advanced when Nel walks in on an affair between her husband and Sula. In result her husband leaves Nel. After a visit to see Sula’s grandmother Nel realizes her mistreatment of Sula and what the difference between what “good” and “evil” really is. The book ends with Nel mourning over Sula’s grave.
The novel “Sula” depicts the real meaning of ambiguity and good from evil. Sula explores ways in which we try to make sense of the world around us in tragedy and happiness. While I understand what the book is relaying to the audience I don’t believe Morrison did this as effectively as she could have. It seemed to me as if she was emphasizing the small details and detracting the important ones. This could be a brilliant literary strategy but to me it made the book less meaningful. One major turning point in the book was the moment Sula’s mother died. However, Morrison only dedicated half a page to the event. I agree with the book in some ways, such as realizing our perception of right and wrong is not always what we believe it to be. I was just not in favor of the style of writing. The take away I got from this book did not seem as impactful because of the way this book was written. Honestly, I don’t recommend this book to many, for I feel there are many better books that can relay the same message
Book review by Heather Blair. Eleventh grader at Novi High School. Enjoys running and eating. Hoping to gain success throughout college and life.