God Help the Child

God Help the Child

[a Novel]

Book - 2015 | First edition.
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A searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the centre: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish....
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780307399755
Branch Call Number: MORRI
Characteristics: 178 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Childhood trauma forms the adult experiences of the woman at the centre of this novel. The story revolves around her desperate desire to be loved by her mother, the choices she makes, and her capacity to rise above her own mistakes.

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RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Whether this novel, Morrison’s eleventh, ranks among her previous best work is irrelevant. If judging God Help the Child on its own merits, it possesses qualities of a powerful book. It has complex, fascinating characters. It has mysterious settings and multilayered plotlines. It has brilliant touches of magic and irony. And, of course, it has Morrison’s inimitable prose, which bursts with lyricism and verve, once again distinguishing her as a brilliant writer.

The story follows Bride and her tumultuous relationships with both her mother, Sweetness, and the man of her dreams, Booker. The narrative alternates from each of their voices and also from the vantage points of other memorable characters along the way. In addressing child abuse, race perceptions, and violence, Morrison produces a work that delivers the same type of blistering truth and unsettling emotion that have been trademarks throughout her career.

This is an intense novel. It is about enduring love and its many obstacles. It is about lifelong anguish and how the past impacts the future. It is about what parents do to their children. It is about the power of secrets and lies and how human conscience will eventually force the truth to surface. Ultimately, it is about compassion and forgiveness. In the end, Morrison shows how, even when the wreckage caused from so much horror and sorrow seems insurmountable to overcome, the world forever has hope.

Jan 13, 2018

A deeply powerful, moving book. I am thankful I found, and read this book. I love the characters, especially that of Queen and Booker. How people misunderstand each other, hurt, love and all the ways in which people are so complex. This touches upon ugly subject matter, but still the story can weave in aspects of beauty. Love your children and tell them how much you love them.

Franln Jun 19, 2017

I like Toni Morrison's writing style. This is a very strange story but intriguing nonetheless.

Oct 02, 2016

I'm also listening to this book...still listening. It took some weird turns in the last quarter and I'm not sure what to make of it. I really enjoyed the book, and was so intrigued by Bride's character that I didn't want the book to end.

CMLibrary_sfetzer May 17, 2016

Set in present day California, God Help the Child follows the story of Bride—a girl whose mother never loved her due to the dark tone of her skin. Facing constant rejection from her mother as a child, Bride made a choice which offered some temporary relief. Bride’s choice continues to shape her well into adulthood and leads her on a path that intersects with the lives of some truly interesting people. Not a single word is wasted in this brief novel which is told in varying points of view. Morrison approaches serious issues such as racial identity, child abuse, and acceptance with an unparalleled grace. Fans of Morrison’s previous work will enjoy this more modern but no less powerful new novel.

MirandaRiley8796 May 04, 2016

What a waste of time, could hardly finish it, it went nowhere! Disappointed doesn't begin to cover it!!

Jan 28, 2016

A powerful story about how we are loved and raised as children affects us as adults.

Nov 25, 2015

I agree with the Guardian's review of this book. Morrison set the tone early but left so many things dangling. These devices promise to lend insight to the character's conflict but fail to do so as they are employed in the novel. In my opinion. I am a huge fan of the way Morrison as an American writer uses the fantastic, mystical and implausible. She weaves in these elements firmly rooting and orienting the drive of her storytelling. She did this so well in her previous novels from "Sula" and "Song of Solomon" to "Beloved". I guess I was expecting the same here.

I am such a fan that I can let Toni M. be Toni in new and different ways. Perhaps "God Help the Child" represents a stage of her metamorphosis. She has never seemed to be afraid of tackling disturbing themes of a sexual nature and is at her finest when writing the internal conflicts of strong women. Her pen reveals, leaves, somuch for contemplation as you read the work. However, as a reader I recognize that a large part of the experience, the interaction while engaged, is what the reader brings to the material as it filters through one's consciousness. The book undergoes its final edit in the mind of the reader. This is fine if there is enough plausible material presented.

Disharmony, loose ends, uneven writing. A more interesting tale to be told is in answer to the question, "Why DID you write this book?"

Sep 26, 2015

Toni Morrison portrayed African-Americans in the 19th century with Beloved, the 20th century with The Bluest Eye, and now the 21st century with God Help the Child. In this novel, Morrison deals with skin darkness of African-Americans (a subject mainly unknown outside the African-American community), careers for African-American women and predation of children. It is a very good, but not great novel dealing with these subjects. The structure is somewhat unusual in that the chapter titles indicate which character is narrating that portion of the novel (with a few sections being told by the author).

Sep 06, 2015

Read the lines about how you treat children carefully in the first few pages, for they are words that come back to haunt the characters time after time. The storyline from various perspectives helps to create the important message of this book. You do not have to let the actions (or sins) or others or even your actions in the past force you into a life you don’t want. You have the power to create a life you want, even though it may not be one that has wealth or fame. As usual, Morrison’s characters are varied, realistic and thought-provoking. This is one of my most favorite Toni Morrison novels.

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Jan 04, 2017

When fear rules, obedience is the only survival choice

Jan 02, 2016

"It's hard for a young girl living in a haunted house."
"No moving. No leaving. It's all right the way it is."
"You know as well as I do that people who die bad don't stay in the ground."
"Beloved, she my daughter. She mine. See. She come back to me of her own free will and I don't have to explain a thing."
'Beloved' Toni Morrison

Jan 02, 2016

"Eva's last child, Plum, to whom she hoped to bequeath everything, floated in a constant swaddle of love and affection, until 1917 when he went to war...it was Hannah who found the bent spoon black from steady cooking. So late one night in 1921, Eva...rolled a bit of newspaper into a tight stick, lit it and threw it onto the bed where the kerosene-soaked Plum lay in snug delight." 'Sula' Toni Morrison

May 05, 2015

“Whether he was lying under her body, hovering above it or holding her in his arms, her blackness thrilled him. Then he was certain that he not only held the night, he owned it, and if the night he held in his arms was not enough, he could always see starlight in her eyes.”

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lilly29 Jun 12, 2015

lilly29 thinks this title is suitable for 19 years and over

May 05, 2015

lisatofts thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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