My Review of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book was a required read for my 404 course of American Literature and I had to do some background reading for it first on Wikipedia to gain some prereading knowledge.

Suffice to say this book broke me. It not just touched me but also moved me, as Ms. Morrison intended Pecola’s story to be. At first, I was tad put off by the Jane and Dick prologue and wondered if this book will drag me for the syllabus.

I was thoroughly proven wrong. I was slow at first in the book, and then finished it in two hours since it was such a short novel (a novella maybe). And this book tore my heart by the realistic yet gruesome portrayal of an innocent girl’s life and the subsequent leading to insanity.

Pecola Breedlove was repeatedly called an ugly girl throughout the book, by the writer-narrator, by the only first person narrator, Claudia, and by the surrounding characters. This book was written in a simple language with easy diction yet it was no easy read. Everybody here was hankering after beauty including Pecola. In their pursuit of beauty, they turned ugly; sometimes by themselves, sometimes by others, the rest by circumstances.

This book is about racial inferiority complex and how beauty is an ugliness in itself. Everybody wanted beauty and in the process, smeared themselves and everything beautiful in their lives with ugliness that could not be cleansed. They destroyed their own lives and were not much hesitant or repentant afterwards about destroying other’s lives either.

Pecola was the only one in the book who never destroyed anybody’s life for beauty knowingly. She was the only one who felt guilt, repentance, and suffered from them. Her innocence was marred and ruined by others repeatedly yet she never avenged it, rather let them ruin her. She was the only true beauty in this book. Only true innocence. And yet, and yet she was used, abused and thrown away after use. She was the only innocent beauty in this ugly world so obviously this ugly world, jealous of her beauty, marred it beyond healing.

The characters, the rest of them, were protagonists of their own lives, both right and wrong in their disgusting and disastrous pursuits of beauty. Mrs. Breedlove let her alcoholic husband succumb further into alcoholism and thus secondarily destroyed her daughter’s life, all as a revenge for everything beautiful everyone took from her. Mr. Breedlove was a victim like Pecola and yet also an abuser. Soaphead Church was a victim and yet an abuser. China, Marie and one other prostitute living above Pecola’s flat were beautifying themselves yet knew those were false, fading beauty. Geraldine kept everything in her life in a neatly order yet was a broken hollow shell in life. Her son, Junior, also failing in pursuit of the beauty of friendship, enjoyed torturing and bullying everyone else. Claudia and Freida were mostly bystanders as they watched everyone in the story self-destruct themselves.

They all bore a symbolic and thematic meaning. Hankering after materialistic beauty drained away all their inner beauties. But they were not always at fault for that. And that is the greatest ugliness of life. And they were all ensnared in the traps of beauty’s elusive web.

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My Review of The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Disclaimer: this review contains spoilers)

OMG what I have read???

Okay, so this review was pending for two days and I just gotten to it after processing my thoughts about this book.

You guys are in for a treat 😍😍😍

This book is so addictive and hypnotic. I started in the morning and finished it in the same evening. It was so bloody good! I was left reeling from the ending. The twists and turns, the punch-in-the-gut foreshadowing, the characterization, the intensity of the subplot romance, the court politics.

I was left breathless.

This is my first book by Holly Black. I’ve watched the Spiderwick Chronicles movie and I loved it back in 2008. I never knew it was by the same author and now I’m thrilled for her other books. OMG she’s super amazing.

Okay, now on to the review:

01. Plot:

Though it centered around faeries, it was a parallel universe to modern human world, opposite to SJM’s universe. Both series have the same faerie based fantasy and court intrigue. But while SJM was mostly about romance, this series focused on the protagonist and power and greed and politics. From the get go, the plot reeled me in like a fish with a bait. And I was totally hooked. I loved every chapter, every scheming and foreshadows, every plot twists and all. Loved every moment of it.

02. Characters:

Jude Duarte:

She is the protagonist and a human whisked to the faerieland with her sisters by her faerie stepfather after he killed her parents. She is brought up among the faeries and she longs to be like them. Her desire for power and beauty is so relatable. Her reactions and thoughts are likeable and make me adore her. She is no damsel in distress despite being a human in a faerieland. Just pute respect and love for her.

Prince Cardan:

He was half like Rhysand but also different from him. He’s a spoiled brat and a bully and yet harbors desire and attraction toward Jude which he suppresses. His characterization, unfortunately compared to Jude, fell slightly flat for me. Maybe in the next books he can shine.

Taryn:

Jude’s twin sister and a goody two shoes. From the get go I disliked her attitude. Yes, there were some goody two shoes sisters in other books (e.g. Elain to Feyre, Prim to Katniss, etc.) But something about Taryn rubbed me off and it is only after a plot twist did I realize my instincts were so right to hate her.

Madoc:

Jude’s stepfather and a ruthless faerie general. He murdered her parents and whisked Jude and her sisters to the faerieland.

Spoiler: he is an antagonist.

Vivienne:

Jude’s half sister and a faerie, she’s Madoc’s biological daughter but hates her father to the core. She was the true best sister for Jude and I loved her spunk and sass. She yearns to return to the human world, unlike Jude and Taryn

Minor characters:

There were other minor characters with their own goals and stakes. I loved Jude’s stepmom later in the story, though hated her in the beginning. I also hated Prince Cardan’s group of bullies. Cardan’s siblings were so so.

03. Court politics:

This is what made me love this book to the core. Other faerie books had court politics but this book surpassed them all. It was this book that made me realize how much fun the scheming and backstabbing can be.

All the twists and turns made me giddy with fangirling emotions.

04. Angsty romance:

Oh yeah. There was romance. There was plenty of angst. The intense battle of one-upping each other between Jude and Prince Cardan was mindbogglingly good. I loved how he wanted her badly yet also hated that he wanted her so badly. That one kissing scene between them was so swoonworthy! 😍😍😍

Some content warning:

This book was overall free of problematic aspects (as far as I could see) except for one. In one scene, there was two suicides back to back which may make you uncomfortable and/or trigger any trauma. It was during the coronation scene of Prince Dain, and if you are uncomfortable with such contents, skip it since there were references to what happened on that scene later.

So overall, I’ve become a huge fan of this book. It gave me a hangover still lasting. I’m dying to get my hands on The Wicked King (2019) and then Queen of Nothing (2020).

I’d recommend to all fans of SJM.