Whether this novel, Morrison’s eleventh, ranks among her previous best work is irrelevant. If judging God Help the Child on its own merits, it possesses qualities of a powerful book. It has complex, fascinating characters. It has mysterious settings and multilayered plotlines. It has brilliant touches of magic and irony. And, of course, it has Morrison’s inimitable prose, which bursts with lyricism and verve, once again distinguishing her as a brilliant writer.
The story follows Bride and her tumultuous relationships with both her mother, Sweetness, and the man of her dreams, Booker. The narrative alternates from each of their voices and also from the vantage points of other memorable characters along the way. In addressing child abuse, race perceptions, and violence, Morrison produces a work that delivers the same type of blistering truth and unsettling emotion that have been trademarks throughout her career.
This is an intense novel. It is about enduring love and its many obstacles. It is about lifelong anguish and how the past impacts the future. It is about what parents do to their children. It is about the power of secrets and lies and how human conscience will eventually force the truth to surface. Ultimately, it is about compassion and forgiveness. In the end, Morrison shows how, even when the wreckage caused from so much horror and sorrow seems insurmountable to overcome, the world forever has hope.