Mommie Dearest Darkly: Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child

Morrison’s latest book, God Help the Child, captivates me (even though I haven’t read it yet) because it deals with the subject of a not so great relationship between a mother and daughter, not to mention the fact that this was the title (except mine was God Bless the Child) that I had chosen for my upcoming memoir. Billy Holiday is saying a lot in her song.) The reviews, so far, are mixed, solidifying my belief that not everyone can relate to mothers who are not conventional–in a Hallmark kind of way, emotional abuse or the children, who eventually become adults, who bear the scars of unconventional parenting. Still, there are many who can. I chose this book as the selection for the month of June because this book, written by an well-known author, I believe can help people to understand the effect of emotional abuse on children, especially when it comes from a mother. The review below will give you a good feel for the book.

Something Eldritch

Mommie Dearest tells the story of perhaps the most iconic inversion of what an ideal mother should be like: beautiful and successful on the surface, rotten on the inside. Yet perhaps other mothers damage more subtly, more terribly, even. At its essence, God Help the Child is about a woman’s reckoning with her childhood scars, and these scars ultimately stem from her mother’s rejection of her due to her dark black skin. Bride, the novel’s protagonist, is the beautiful, successful, materialistic executive of YOU, GIRL cosmetics. She only wears shades of white- creams, milks, and snows- to compliment her unforgettable blue-black skin. For someone who was never supposed to be gorgeous by her mother’s standards, Bride is stunning. And though her looks are admired by many, perhaps they’re most admired by herself. Like Joan Crawford, Bride’s mother, whom she is never allowed to call mother (instead she calls her Sweetness…

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