Everyone who knows me probably knows how much I love Miss Toni Morrison, although most of my close friends will tease me for taking MONTHS to finish Beloved-that’s a story for another day though. I read Sula about two weeks ago and as with all of Toni’s books its greatly written in her usual style which i have to admit took me a while to get used to, probably why Beloved took me ages to finish. Its probably one of the shortest works of fiction by Toni, which made reading it in two days not seem peculiar.
Sula, is a novel set in The Bottom a black community depicting the life of the protagonist or heroine as my friend who read the book before me likes to call her, Sula. It spans from 1921 till 1965, and is divided into two sections, one depicting Sula’s early life; her childhood, her family background, and the friendships and occurrences in her early days. The second part is set ten years later when Sula, now an adult returns to The Bottom after having experienced life in the city and getting a college education.
Upon her return however, she is marred by her lack of servitude for the social conventions; the people in The Bottom treat her like an evil outcast due to her “ways” ; sex hungry, man-stealing and many more. She is then scorned and treated like leper for ignoring the taboos and unseen laws set by these people she grew up around.
However the hatred and the “evil doings” of Sula bring harmony and happiness to The Bottom as they now learn to live together and improve their lives. Sula’s childhood friend , Nel who had broken off their friendship after Sula had slept with her husband , fixes their friendship in 1940s just before Sula dies. With her death comes the end to the harmony they had had as a community.
Nel realizes years later that maybe some of Sula’s misgivings were actually good and that she had been blind to see this because she was quick to take on the role of being the good side in the incident.
One can say Sula is a novel about personality, growth and the gruesome debate on whats good and whats not. Sula is a character who I can say was living her best life, she was not confined to the walls set by the community and just went on living.
The book too is about the community’s fight against the stereotypes they have, for instance the men were quite appalled at the knowledge that Sula was sleeping with white men. They found this to be the worst crime any black woman could commit.
Toni wrote this book in a way only she masters, the characters are strong and willed. She examines human relationships and boundaries which are there between us and which somehow we sometimes forget or do not acknowledge.
It is overall a great read, the reader is hooked from the first line…””In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Gold Course, there was once a neighborhood . . . . It is called the suburbs now, but when black people lived there it was called the Bottom . . . . They are going to raze the Time and a Half Pool Hall, where feet in long tan shoes once pointed down from chair rungs.” ”
haha spoiler. but hey go ahead and go give it a read, im pretty certain anyone who reads this book will be hooked and enjoy it till the last page.