Who wrote this book and when?
Toni Morrison published it in 1973.
Has there been a film version?
I can’t find any evidence of one.
Who are the important characters?
Sula – a black woman who is considered wayward and evil by her town, Bottom
Nel – Sula’s best friend, living the model black life
Eva – Sula’s one-legged grandmother who runs a sort of boarding house
Hannah – Sula’s mother, Eva’s oldest daughter, a “loose” woman
Jude – Nel’s husband
Ajax – Albert Jacks, one of Sula’s lovers
Shadrack – a WWII veteran who is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he is paranoid and invents National Suicide Day
Chicken Little – a little black boy who drowns mysteriously
What’s it about?
This is the story of Sula and Nel – two girls who become “bosom friends” at the age of 12 and continue their deep relationship for better and worse until they die. Their friendship is used as an examination of good versus evil, and how the line between the two concepts is sometimes a lot less defined than we think. Sula grows up the daughter of a prostitute and granddaughter of a boarding house owner with wild ways. Nel grows up the granddaughter of a prostitute and the daughter of a respectable woman. Both are portrayed as good and evil throughout different times of the book.
Why is this book a classic?
It is supposed to, like all Morrison novels, give you an idea of what it “really” means to be black. It also examines the similarities between good and evil and challenges you to define them.
Do you recommend I read this book?
Why did this book make your list?
I was at the library and next to the shelf of Morrison works. I couldn’t remember which ones were on my list and which weren’t, so I grabbed the smallest one.
Has it won any awards?
Oprah’s Book Club. That’s all.
“Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossomed things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful, beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Even their footsteps left a smell of smoke behind.” – p56
Sometimes I love Morrison’s descriptive writing – it can take my breath away. And sometimes I wish she’d decide whether she’s a poet or a novelist.
I was not excited to read this book. I don’t particularly enjoy Toni Morrison as an author – despite the fact I’m white, I’m just a little offended at her writing. I’d like to think African American people are more intelligent than she portrays them to be in most of her works. Just me, though. Watch I’ll get some angry hate comments for trashing The Toni Morrison and being a racist. Anyway, I went into this short novel knowing that there was going to be some death involved which tried to be shocking even though it was blatantly obvious it was coming. And there was going to be an African American wishing they were white. And some struggles. And some magical thinking/mysticism/superstitious ways. And I was pretty much right. I’m not sure why Oprah picked this book for her book club except that it’s about the oppression of the African Americans. I liked Sula as a character. I liked Nel as a character. I liked all the characters. I just thought their lives were boring and they didn’t go through any major crises or come to any revelations that were anything special. Maybe that was the point. *shrugs* *marks off list*