MLA Gold Award Site

Summary and book reviews of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2000, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2000, 215 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The story a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others. First published 1970; won the 1993 Nobel Prize. Republished 2000.

The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment. Selected as Oprah Winfrey's April 2000 Book of the Month. Republished by Random House in April 2000

Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel. Rosemary Villanucci, our next-door friend who lives above her father's cafe, sits in a 1939 Buick eating bread and butter. She rolls down the window to tell my sister Frieda and me that we can't come in. We stare at her, wanting her bread, but more than that wanting to poke the arrogance out of her eyes and smash the pride of ownership that curls her chewing mouth. When she comes out of the car we will beat her up, make red marks on her white skin, and she will cry and ask us do we want her to pull her pants down. We will say no. We don't know what we should feel or do if she does, but whenever she asks us, we know she is offering us something precious and that our own pride must be asserted by refusing to accept.

School has started, and Frieda and I get new brown stockings and cod-liver oil. Grown-ups talk in tired, edgy voices about Zick's Coal Company and take us ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Reading Guides for The Bluest Eye and Paradise

Few writers have been as celebrated or influential as Toni Morrison. The recipient of the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and of awards from the National Book Critic Circle and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, she has also won the Pulitzer Prize, and was the first African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Cited by many as our greatest living writer, Morrison continues to produce works of highly-accessible fiction that are of literary and social significance. This accessibility is perhaps her greatest gift to her readers, for she presents hard truths and historical fact without didacticism or ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

Media Reviews
Newsweek

This story commands attention, for it contains one black girl's universe.

The New York Times - John Leonard

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is an inquiry into the reasons why beauty gets wasted in this country. The beauty in this case is black. [Miss Morrison's prose is] so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry...I have said 'poetry,' but The Bluest Eye is also history, sociology, folklore, nightmare and music.

The New Yorker - L.E. Sissman

A fresh, close look at the lives of terror and decorum of those Negroes who want to get on in a white man's world...A touching and disturbing picture of the doomed youth of [the author's] race.

Detroit Free Press - Gary Blonston

A profoundly successful work of fiction...so controlled, so good...with the same clean precision that Sherwood Anderson used to carve his troubled little town...Taut and understated, harsh in its detachment, sympathetic in its truth...it is an experience.

Reader Reviews
Ditra Coleman

Other Peoples Feelings
I have read "The Bluest Eye" about 15 times since I first read it at 28 years of age..... I am now 49. It is hard to sum up such a heartfelt piece of literature. The story and meaning of this book goes far beyond the words on the pages. ...   Read More

Ditra

TOUCHED
I first read The Bluest Eye about 20 years ago. I have read it about 10 more times since. I grew up in the 60's and 70's along with three younger sisters and an older brother. This book touched home for me on soooo many levels. Though both of my ...   Read More

Julia

At first I did not understand the book, but i soon got into the whole swing of it. I loved how the author looked into the past, seeing all the characters really helped me understand. It is a chilling story of a girl who just wanted to fit in and live...   Read More

Anonymous

I disagree with some of the people who thought this book was boring. It was a book that i found quite interesting. I had to choose a book for a book review and this was the book that I chose. Reading The Bluest Eye helped my class have a class ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Bluest Eye, try these:

  • Down River jacket

    Down River

    by John Hart

    Published 2008

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam Chase is hounded out of the only home he’s ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears. Now he’s back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.

  • All Aunt Hagar's Children jacket

    All Aunt Hagar's Children

    by Edward P. Jones

    Published 2007

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in The New Yorker, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World shows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Saving Montgomery Sole
    Saving Montgomery Sole
    by Mariko Tamaki
    Understanding identity is one the most important parts of adolescence. For some teenagers, those who...
  • Book Jacket: All Tomorrow's Parties
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Never-Open Desert Diner
    The Never-Open Desert Diner
    by James Anderson
    James Anderson's debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, starts off as an entertaining ...
Win this book!
Win The 100 Year Miracle

50 Copies to Give Away!

The 100 Year Miracle is a rich, enthralling novel, full of great characters.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Dark Lady's Mask
    by Mary Sharratt

    Based on the life of the first professional woman poet in Renaissance England, and her collaboration with Shakespeare.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
    by Phaedra Patrick

    In a poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Sign O T T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.