The marigolds did not bloom in Lorain, Ohio the year eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove gave birth to her father’s child. Told from the point of view of another young girl named Claudia, the novel details Pecola’s life and her desperate wish for her eyes to turn blue so that “she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America”.
This is my first Morrison novel and although this isn’t her most famous novel, I picked it up because I found a used copy at my library’s recent book sale. Pecola’s story reminded me quite a bit of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as both books confront the ugly truth about racism in America and child molestation.
But I think I liked the later more than the former. This is supposed to be a very painful story to read yet it wasn’t as heart-wrenching for me as it probably should have been. I believe this is because of the distance I felt from Pecola due to Claudia being the narrator. I was never able to connect with Pecola nor was I able to connect to Claudia due to the focus on Pecola.
I have been told by a friend who loves Morrison that this is not her best book and she has encouraged me to pick another novel. I think I heed her advice and try another Morrison novel because I do feel like I’m missing something.
- Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Bantam, 1983. Originally published 1969. Print. 289 pgs. ISBN: 0553279378. Source: Library.
- Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume Books, 2000. Originally published 1970. Print. 216 pgs. ISBN: 0452282195. Source: Purchased.