Book Review: Song of Solomon

I have been meaning to read Toni Morrison for a number of years now, and I was excited to finally buy her book in February. One of the key reasons why I was so excited to read Toni Morrison was because she was the author that made Michelle Obama fall in love with reading. This was the author that Barack Obama introduced her to when they first started dating, as Morrison was one of Barack’s favourite writers.

Song of Solomon is a novel about an African American family and how they navigate through their past. The events of the novel take place between the 1930s and 1970s as it follows the Dead family and the protagonist Macon Dead, also known as Milkman.

My first thoughts of the novel was that it was longer than I expected, but by the end of the novel, I thought that it wasn’t long enough for me to feel satisfied with the ending.

The title of the novel definitely attracted me to this book. Of all the Toni Morrison novels, I chose this one because it reminded me of the book in the Bible, Song of Songs which is also known as Song of Solomon.  From this title, I expected the themes of the biblical book to feature in the novel, however, the book had very little to do with love or romance. Although singing and Solomon do play a key part in the novel, I was over halfway through the novel, if not 60% of the novel, before any mention of Solomon and its connection to singing was ever made known.

The characters of the novel are not two dimensional and therefore harder for them to be likeable. They all have a history and their own motivations for doing things. Although we do not get a glimpse into all the characters psyche, such as Lena (which I would have loved to know more about), Morrison is constantly introducing us to a different and unexpected aspects of her characters. I particularly enjoyed how Morrison writes and develops her female characters, even in the face of oppression, they still thrive at the life they’ve built for themselves.

When starting this novel, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be a brilliant piece of literature, not only because she came highly recommended by the Obamas but because she won the Nobel Prize for Literature (amongst numerous other awards), which to me is as good as it gets for a writer. I am excited to add more of Morrison’s novels to my reading list and this is a novel that I would recommend. Overall, I give this novel a 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for reading.

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