"Home" by Toni Morrison


Frank Money has returned to America from the Korean War a scarred and angry man, traumatized by what he experienced on the front lines.  When he learns that his sister is being medically abused, he must do what he always vowed never to do - return to the small Georgia town he came from and holds a deep hatred for.  As Frank travels to rescue his sister, he questions his sense of self and along the way discovers in himself a man he didn't think could ever live again.

Home is Toni Morrison's tenth novel and the first of hers that I have read.  I have always wanted to read her works, hearing such great things about her writing and I can now see why she has the reputation she does.

Without getting into the graphic or the sensational, Morrison paints a haunting picture of a man scarred by the horrors of war.  While it is set in the 1950's, it could easily take place today.  It isn't a long novel and while that doesn't allow for major development of characters, there are many voices represented through different narrators.  The chapters in which Frank addresses the reader directly are outstanding.

Home paints a stark picture of what life was like in the 1950's.  It touches on war, racism, poverty and eugenics in a clear way that isn't in your face but doesn't beat around the bush either.  Morrison is skilled at walking the fine line that divides the two.  

I was a little surprised at this book.  Given the status that Toni Morrison has in the literary world (and I'm sure is very deserving), this book didn't seem to live up to that reputation.  The plot felt like it deserved more development, the characters felt like you only knew half of them. I was definitely expecting a lot more story. 

I have heard that if you are fan of Morrison's you will enjoy this book, but this is not the book to start with if you haven't read any of her previous works.  So I will take that into account and say that while I enjoyed the story but wasn't blown away, I will definitely try reading one of her earlier works to get a better feel of her writing.  

Comments

  1. I'm a fan of Toni Morrison's work and I did read this book, but I've decided not to review it. I thought the writing was as gorgeous as I expected but that the work itself felt rather incomplete. Not that she usually ties the rest of her books up neatly, with no stray ends. She doesn't. But this one felt much less complete than usual.

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  2. Thanks for your comment. That seems to be the feelings amongst people who have read her books before. I definitely was expecting more from it.

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  3. I read this one, my first Morrison, and really enjoyed it. I thought it served as a nice introduction to her work and found it strong and accessible. I am eager to continue my Morrison reading this year and discover more of her works.

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