The Bluest Eye (or plural Eyes?)

blue human eye
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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Unfortunately, I was not impressed by this novel. The book jacket described a young black girl desperate to have blue eyes and maybe I over-assumed where the story would lead?

In my mind, it would describe how she was given a white doll with blue eyes as a young girl and grew up forming a limited idea of “beauty” around that plastic face. (This held true as a fraction of the story. ) I then imagined she would go through other phases of her life as a young black woman learning about ethnicity and growing her awareness of what beauty can mean in life…  learning through struggles with America’s white standards of beauty in advertisements (and dolls) during that time period.

Of course I hoped the character would develop to see blackness as beauty after taking us on a journey of what many colored women go through in America….

I was completely wrong. I actually ended up confused at some chapters as the perspective kept change from different character’s view points and focusing on different families with no warning. Overall, there were very few pages concerning the girl obsessed with blue eyes or using that as part of the story line.

Instead I would describe the book as touching upon different family experiences/histories intertwined within the same poverty stricken town in Ohio. Domestic abuse, sexual abuse, relationship struggles, lack of education or jobs, foster children, and crime are all touched upon for several black families.

Obviously the author is an incredible writer and my lowly little opinions do not matter – but I did not come away with anything stirring in my mind or heart. Looking back I would say there were not notable insights that would be ground-breakingly unique.

This may be my fault for setting my mind up to fail with high expectations per the author’s name and a loose plot assumption. I would have much preferred Morrison’s crafted words/views on how the standards of white beauty affect young black girls growing up with dolls, advertisements, magazines, movies, and more focused on white women during that time.

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