Isn’t it amazing how a little book can leave an everlasting impact on the mind of a reader. Toni Morrison’s most recently published book ‘God Help the Child’ did just that.
Toni Morrison swiftly conveys emotion to her readers with beautiful descriptions. I devoured it in one sitting, moving from page to page as easily as each word came. Isn’t it funny how everyone has their baggage. We all lug our weights around, many of us creating a facade of perfection to hide the shame. No one’s childhood is perfect. No one has a pretty past. The word itself ‘past’ implies things that we’d prefer to forget.
Bride the female protagonist has a past, a past filled with shame and blame. Her past was riddled with the pain of being a dark skinned child. She faced racism from others. And colourism from her mother. It is sad how we never consider the impact of our words. Each time we spit out something, we forget that they develop wings, fly away and perch in the heart of someone, never to be moved. You are too light skinned, so dark? So skinny, so fat! Your hair is this way and that way. And without thinking about the effects these words have on the recipient, we are giving them a legacy of shame and disgrace, another thing to be self-conscious about, another insecurity.
No adult had a perfect childhood, yet they do not give their children perfect memories either. So many parents harm their children, damage them is some irrevocable way. But it’s the impact of the damage that matters. There is no way of being perfect, but surely we can be good in a variety of ways. At the end of the book, Bride is pregnant and is convinced this is a clean slate. A chance to start afresh and give her child a new life. In as much as I felt joy at new life, I was convinced that somehow her baggage will affect her infants development. I felt that her baby will grow up, scarred by its childhood too. I was downcast at the fact there was no magic formula for parenthood; babies become adults and adults remember. I suppose Toni Morrison was right, only God can help the chid.
A bit heavy, I know. Do share your thoughts below.
Until next time. You know Dami lives to read.