Photo by spisharam
I’m going out on my own again this week and will be curious to see Melanie Jones’ pick for Ohio in the future. My pick for Ohio is one of the most unprecedented and peerless contemporary writers — Toni Morrison.
Now if you have read one of her novels, then you already know that it is a journey through darkness and pain, but ultimately rewarding and even life-altering. The first novel I read by Morrison was Beloved and had to put it down periodically just to recover from the relentless, unflinching agony she recreates. I think her artistry as a writer is best showcased in Jazz, but I haven’t read Song of Solomon yet, and I once heard a teacher of the year cite it as the novel she would choose to teach if she could only teach one novel for the rest of her life! Why haven’t I read it yet? Because I assume I will be in for a world of hurt and am not brave enough yet… But I will be…
Photo by Listen Missy!
Now, which of her novels best represents Ohio? I think The Bluest Eye (Vintage International)
is the appropriate choice:
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful as beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigold in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change — in painful, devastating ways. With its vivid evocation of the feat and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of it’s fulfillment, The Bluest Eye remains on of Toni Morrison’s most powerful, unforgettable novels – and a significant work of American fiction.
Photo by spisharam
I wholeheartedly agree and would love to hear what others think, too…
Curious about the other states we’ve covered?
Photo by marxchivist
First, from Melanie Jones:
- Alabama: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (check out my To Kill A Mockingbird Sample Kit!)
- Michigan: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
- Alaska: The Man Who Swam With Beavers by Nancy Lord
- Arizona: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
- North Dakota: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
- Vermont: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- Hawaii: Heads by Harry by Lois-ann Yamanaka
- Georgia: Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
And I went out on my own for…
- Florida: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston
- Minnesota: In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
- Wisconsin: When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton
- Louisiana: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (Jones’ pick) and The Awakening by Kate Chopin (my pick)
- Colorado: Plainsong by Kent Haruf
- Maryland: Anything by Anne Tyler
- Georgia: Awakening by Kate Chopin
Wondering where your state is? Coming soon… In the meantime, weigh in on future picks!