Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home by Toni Morrison

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
145 pages

Morrison's tenth novel tells the story of a young man named Frank Money who is struggling to reclaim his sense of self when he returns to his country after the Korean War. In the beginning of the book he escapes from a mental hospital where he doesn't recall how he got in there and flees South to rescue his dying sister Cee.

In the beginning of each chapter Frank reveals an event from his past that played a significant role in his development--specifically things that haunt him. He talks about witnessing a group of white men bury a black person's body with his sister and about a little Korean girl that was killed while he was on watch during the war. Each of these anecdotes connect to the larger narrative about him facing his past.

He chooses to go back to Georgia where he grew up to save his sister's life after receiving a letter about her health. He left behind living in the security of his hard-working, but fed up girlfriend's apartment in Chicago and travel alone despite his fears about his psychological stability.

Cee also fled from Lotus to escape from her past. She was jilted by a smooth talker who married her to take her grandmother's car. Cee was too embarrassed to go back home and stayed in the city. She found a job working for a doctor who performed experiments on her and was responsible for her near-death condition.

By the end of the novel Frank and Cee reunite and begin their path of healing mentally and physically. Frank begins to see that Lotus isn't as bad as he thought it was and Cee gains strength and newfound self-worth. They find the bones of the person the white men buried and give him a proper grave site. The last scene of the book where they walk back home is touching and poignant. I nearly cried.

Home is a simple, quick read. It isn't as heavy and complex as Toni's other works, but it has a strong message that doesn't need a momentous plot to get the point across.

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