Read Sula by Toni Morrison Online

sula

This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejeThis rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejected the life Nel has embraced, escaping to college, and submerging herself in city life. When she returns to her roots, it is as a rebel and a wanton seductress. Eventually, both women must face the consequences of their choices. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America....

Title : Sula
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780786246533
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sula Reviews

  • karen
    2019-02-28 08:18

    Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be.this one gets 4 "please don't hit me again, sula!" stars.and honestly, for more than half of it, it was leaning towards 5 stars, and not just because of stockholm syndrome.i have never read toni morrison before. her name was at the top of my "authors i have never read, much to my great personal shame" list along with tolstoy, balzac, alice munro, etc. and before this book, my impression of her was that she was a very rigidly literary american author who wrote important books about important themes that were technically masterful, but took themselves very seriously and were probably not much fun to read.well.that is not the case with this one, at least.right from the get-go, i was smitten. it was all the things i loved - it was Winesburg, Ohio, it was grit lit, it was smalltown gossip and neighborly scrutiny, it was the ingenuity of the disenfranchised, it was the sun rising like a hot white bitch, and best of all, it was FUN! but, like, my kind of fun, where people get set on fire and playtime ends in a body count. this is v.c. andrews without the incest!and now i understand why this book kept injuring me - Sula does NOT play nice. it is a rough book full of rough things too potent to be contained between the covers of the book itself. or maybe the book was just trying to get my attention because it knew i would like it so much. either way, it was worth the price of a few battle scars marking me like sula herself, whose birthmark gives her face a broken excitement. to me, this book was absolute perfection when it was focused on the childhood friendship of sula and nel, but it lost something once they grew up. which is a shame, because the childhood parts were SO GOOD. she writes the intensity of nel and sula's intertwining perfectly:They never quarreled, those two, the way some girlfriends did over boys, or competed against each other for them. In those days, a compliment to one was a compliment to the other, and cruelty to one was a challenge to the other.and she captures that transition from girlhood to half-understood sexuality wonderfully: It was in that summer, the summer of their twelfth year, the summer of the beautiful black boys, that they became skittish, frightened and bold - all at the same time.although i do have to say, her overreliance on the word "beautiful" as a descriptor for men and boys is grating. eeeevery man is beautiful, which is statistically improbable, and it's also lazy wordsmithing in someone who has proven herself to be much better than that. but back to the sexxy bits, because you know i'm not into romance or erotica unless it involves all the hilarious ways a human can copulate with a monster or a tater tot or something like that. but human-on-human gyrations tend to leave me cold. however, while it doesn't involve actual intercourse, her descriptions of sula and nel at twelve, wishbone thin and easy-assed, walking to the ice cream store through the gauntlet of men who are themselves passing the time sitting on stoops watching women walk by, through this valley of eyes chilled by the wind and heated by the embarrassment of appraising stares, knowing and not-knowing their effect, delighted and ashamed all at once, and despite the fact that it's totally gross to call a situation in which men in their twenties up through to elderly gentlemen are ogling twelve-year-old girls "hot," still, there's something here that worked on me the way no fifty shades of story of o has, and it comes from the perspective of the girls themselves, and the mysteries of what they have yet to experience:It was not really Edna Finch's ice cream that made them brave the stretch of those panther eyes. Years later their own eyes would glaze as they cupped their chins in remembrance of the inchworm smiles, the squatting haunches, the track-rail legs straddling broken chairs. The cream-colored trousers marking with a mere seam the place where the mystery curled. Those smooth vanilla crotches invited them; those lemon-yellow gabardines beckoned to them. They moved toward the ice-cream parlor like tightrope walkers, as thrilled by the possibility of a slip as by the maintenance of tension and balance. The least sideways glance, the merest toe stub, could pitch them into those creamy haunches spread wide with welcome. Somewhere beneath all of that daintiness, chambered in all that neatness, lay the thing that clotted their dreams.so you see why i'm frustrated by her repetition of "beautiful" when she can pull off such superior writing. even her descriptions of nature become erotic, although this passage has more of that b-word gumming up the works:Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossomed things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down to their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful, beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Even their footsteps left a smell of smoke behind.very saucy stuff, that. so, yeah - i really loved this book. i loved the final third less than the beginning, because i didn't really understand what i was meant to be getting out of the story's turn, but it was still excellent writing, and it closed very nicely, so it's an easy four stars, and immunity granted for all injuries sustained. ***********************************************okay, i finished the book. if it lets me live long enough, i will review it soon.***********************************************IMPORTANT UPDATE: A SECOND ASSAULT UPON MY PERSON BY THIS BOOK:okay, so here's something weird. i started this book yesterday, and read several chapters just before bed. when i woke up, i had this gigantic bruise on my eyelid:i have no memory of any trauma to my eye (and i am eye-attack-phobic, so i'd remember) and i wear my glasses all day, which protects me from such trauma. the only way this could have happened would have been when my glasses were off, while i was asleep. when my glasses were off, while i was asleep, WITH THIS BOOK NEXT TO ME IN BED.seriously, sula - what's your beef with me?although i gotta say, i like how it makes me look like i'm wearing fancy new wave eyeshadow.***********************************************the final book in my quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit:sula….here's the story with me and sula. long ago, when i was working at barnes and noble and we hosted the new yorker festival every year, i was in the back room on the fourth floor, gathering books to restock the festival displays. while i was grabbing books from a shelf far above my head with my monkey-arms, a hardcover copy of sula slipped from the stack and its very solid lower spine-corner hit me right in the center of my skull with all the force of gravity and book-malice behind it. naturally, i yelled "FUCK YOU, SULA," and naturally i vowed never to read that book, ever. but then this box-thing happened, and now i have to read it, regardless of the abuse i have suffered at its hands. fortunately, this is a paperback, and it is not as tough as its momma. i remain vigilant - i could still get papercuts, after all…

  • Hannah Greendale
    2019-03-16 05:02

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.In the hills above the valley town of Medallion, Ohio is a small neighborhood known as the Bottom where black residents form a tight-knit community. They are united in their understanding of discrimination and their experience with racial oppression. The Bottom is home to Nel Wright and Sula Peace, two girls whose friendship is solidified by the burden of a horrendous secret. Once grown, they remain guardians of that secret, but an act of betrayal threatens to terminate their friendship forever. White people lived on the rich valley floor of that little river town in Ohio, and the blacks populated the hills above it, taking small consolation in the fact that every day they could literally look down on the white folks. Though Sula posits to be the story of two women, Nel and Sula don't take center stage until roughly fifty pages into the book. Prior to their time in the limelight, the book reads like a collection of character studies, which provides backstory of family history that lays the foundation for the type of drastically different women Nel and Sula each grow up to be. Opulent language is regularly employed to describe the setting and character attributes: Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossomed things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences, iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Her voice trailed, dipped and bowed; she gave a chord of the simplest words. Nobody, but nobody, could say "hey sugar" like Hannah. When he heard it, the man tipped his hat down a little over his eyes, hoisted his trousers and thought about the hollow place at the base of her throat. Young Nel is raised in an environment that stifles the glowing qualities of her personality, yet she aspires to be wonderful. Only with Sula did that quality have free reign, but their friendship was so close, they themselves had difficulty distinguishing one's thoughts from the other's.As a grown woman, Nel is an accepted figure in the community, content with the status quo and the confines of a life as mother and wife. Young Sula, by stark contrast, enjoys the neatness of Nel's parents' house and finds it a comforting opposite to the dirty, cluttered conditions of her own home where her mother - known around town for being loose with men - adheres to a lax method of parenting. As an adult, Sula challenges the status quo with her anarchistic ways, free of the rules for women established by men, making Sula - first and foremost - a study of an outlaw woman disrupting the harmony of a unified neighborhood and tragically injuring a lifelong friendship. They said that Sula slept with white men. it may not have been true, but it certainly could have been. She was obviously capable of it. In any case, all minds were closed to her when that word was passed around. Towards the end of the book, the story shifts without preamble from a third person to a first person narrative for just a few pages. It's likely this was a strategic move, enacted by the author to emphasize a character's deep sense of betrayal, but the sudden and unexpected shift was initially jarring. Once oriented, the scene does allow for a more intimate experience of betrayal as told through the eyes of a character via a first person narrative. Coming full circle, the book concludes nicely by deferring to the characters introduced in its opening pages. With only limited time devoted to its two leading characters, Sula is a tragic portrait of a woman breaking societal rules and suffering the grievous consequences of her actions. -My deepest gratitude to Quarterly.co for providing a free Literary Box with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Quarterly.co's Literary Box comes with bookish goodies, a feature book, and two additional books selected by the author of the feature book. What makes the Literary Box special are the notes written by the author of the feature book. These notes give readers unique insights into the book that only the author would know.

  • Rowena
    2019-03-16 04:07

    "Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossoming things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down to their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful, beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Even their footsteps left a smell of smoke behind."- Toni Morrison, SulaThis is a captivating book about the friendship between two girls (Sula and Nel) with very different personalities. Despite the fact that Sula is the titular character, we're not introduced to her until halfway through the book. Before that we have the opportunity to discover the poor black community where most of the action will take place, and think more about PTSD in the lives of black American soldiers, while waiting for the central story. In particular, the description of Bottom and how it affects the people who live there sets the stage:"What was taken by outsiders to be slackness, slovenliness or even generosity was in fact a full recognition of the legitimacy of forces other than good ones. They did not believe doctors could heal—for them, none ever had done so. They did not believe death was accidental—life might be, but death was deliberate. They did not believe Nature was ever askew—only inconvenient. Plague and drought were as “natural” as springtime. If milk could curdle, God knows robins could fall. The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance. They knew anger well but not despair, and they didn’t stone sinners for the same reason they didn’t commit suicide—it was beneath them."Because I'm reading Morrison's books in chronological order, and The Bluest Eye was read not too long ago, I was maybe more sensitive to the connections and similarities between the two books. In this book, as in The Bluest Eye, the theme of the two Americas emerges, in particular on the theme of parental love. What does love mean when you are a single black mother of three children, abandoned by your husband and living in a poor, black community? I kept going back to read the passage where Hannah is asking her mother, Eva, whether she had ever loved her, and Eva replied, "You settin' here with your healthy-ass self and ax me did I love you? Them big old eyes in your head would a been two holes full of maggots if I hadn't." And also:"Play? Wasn't nobody playin' in 1895. Just 'cause you got it good now you think it was always this good?"This sentiment was so reminiscent of The Bluest Eye where the black mother showed her love to her children in somewhat gruff ways which weren't even recognized as love until those children were older. In a sense I feel they were too busy to focus on love as most of us envision it, focusing all their attention on survival instead. I'm still quite conflicted about Sula, although my opinion of her has softened over the years as I myself have gained more empathy through age and personal experiences. In many ways I sympathize with her; she is smart, a rebel of sorts, doesn't like traditional expectations of women, and is very unconventional. She tries to forge her own life, even gaining the courage to leave Bottom. But something is missing in her and Morrison tells us that Sula "had no center, no speck around which to grow." Despite this Morrison is not judgmental in how she portrays her, and it led me to empathizing with her role as an outsider, living in a small community with a small-town mentality :"In a way, her strangeness, her naivete, her craving for the other half of her equation was the consequence of an idle imagination. Had she paints, or clay, or knew the discipline of the dance, or strings; had she anything to engage her tremendous curiosity and her gift for metaphor, she might have exchanged the relentlessness and preoccupation with whim for an activity that provided her with all she yearned for. And like any artist with no art form, she became dangerous."Although Morrison focuses mainly on the lives of black girls and women in her writing, she also spares a thought to black men. She looks at black masculinity, particularly in the kind of environment that constrains the lives and movement of black people, and what that manifests as: "So it was rage, rage and a determination to take on a man's role anyhow that made him press Nel about settling down. He needed some of his appetites filled, some posture of adulthood recognized, but mostly he wanted someone to care about his hurt, to care very deeply. Deep enough to hold him, deep enough to rock him, deep enough to ask, “How you feel? You all right? Want some coffee?” And if he were to be a man, that someone could no longer be his mother. He chose the girl who had always been kind, who had never seemed hell-bent to marry, who made the whole venture seem like his idea, his conquest." In the end, I really enjoyed this book more than I did a decade ago when I first read it. And I'm awed by how much Morrison can pack into a novella of this size.

  • brian
    2019-03-22 05:12

    all these new editions of morrison’s books have the same author photo on the back. and it’s been causing problems. check it out:despite that weird author hand placement thing, i've been kinda seriously obsessing over all these pictures of morrison's huge lion's head, piercing eyes, and silver dreads... and as i plow through her body of work i stare at her face for some external indication of all the furious demented & psychotic shit she flings at us. by all appearances she's a lovely woman. & i just don't get it. it's gotten to the point where i've gotta stick duct tape over the author photo so that everytime i read some crazyass shit and my OCD flares up, i'm unable to flip to the back cover and snicker/mumble to a photograph and an empty room. again with the hands.

  • Fabian
    2019-03-27 07:18

    This unerring writer has been the only one to get all 5 star reviews from me so far (for "Beloved," "The Bluest Eye," & this); all of her books have that same wondrous quality. What can be said about our most cherished writer that hasn't already been said? It is really hard to come up with a favorite novel ("Beloved" for its twinges of Goth? "Eye" for its incessant play with tenderness and cruelty? Or this, for its inspiring mix of grief from [the ultraheavy psychological effects of] "Eye" & the magnificent deus ex machina at the end, a-la "Beloved"?). Better than Faulkner, the scenes we are shown here vary in tone. Morrison's narrator has certain privileges but also decides what not to show us. Sula involves the strong relationship between two women, how it can possibly transcend the love for family, the love for love. It is something so completely foreign to me, so delicious, & as bizarre, as, say Cindi Lauper's anthem "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." What is it that men MISS OUT on?After "Sula" I am now suddenly & utterly aware that there are certain circles (circular... perhaps a fitting definition for the manner in which the writer displays her never-normal narrative) which I am barred from entering--the feeling of being shown only glimpses of something I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND is that mystical magical engine which keeps my nose perpetually in novels.

  • Jibran
    2019-03-23 05:23

    Hell ain't things lasting forever. Hell is change.It is time for change; slowly, painfully, but inexorably the spirit of the age sheds old rags and dons a new garb. The mutes are beginning to discover a voice that had been trapped in their windpipes; eyes see things that they had hitherto only watched; and hearts ache with a new throb of hope mixed with fear of which no one can tell which is greater. From this sense of foreboding out comes Sula.The excluded community confined up in the hills outside a small Ohio town is made, through centuries of social conditioning, to see themselves as different and separate from the white people. They know who they are and they also know they are not the same as the people who live in the town down the hills. They are different, in every imaginable way. You could see that. They are scandalised when Sula, one of their own, embarks on a path that's opening up out there, a path of education and mobility, of employment and relocation, of mingling with the white folks as their human equal, if not racial, social or political equal. Gods be good, the black people are offered to live their lives like the white folks! “It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”When she returns home after a long absence Sula is transformed into an unintelligible mass of thoughts and actions her people find difficult to square: It's like a white girl in black skin. Or so people think. Unpardonable. Outrageous. Her community is devastated; nothing is more sacrilegious than dressing like white people, speaking like them, behaving like them, being like them. And what's more, Sula has taken a white man for a lover. Sula, we're not the same. Ah, what an incredible fact of human psychology that even if you do not lose a sense of identity and self-respect, you eventually come to accept the role to which your oppressor designates you.Sula becomes a pariah in her own community, uncomprehending and incomprehensible. The ominous signs that lend her a preternatural aura testify to something strange. People see those signs in retrospect, from her birth to childhood, from her growing up as a daughter of a woman abandoned by her husband, from the way she looked at them when she was a child, the way she walked and sat, ate and gestured. Sula, they reach on a terrifying conclusion, is not a young black girl but a phantom implanted from a world of shadows. (view spoiler)[This is as close as the author would get to magic realism in this novel (hide spoiler)] She is almost a witch, and if she really is not, she ought to be one.Sula’s character is a symbol (self-contradictory, torn, divided, compartmentalised, unmappable) of the conflict borne of the changing values that had held together isolated, nebulous, inward-looking black communities across the United States in the age of institutionalised racism. Values constructed so carefully over centuries when challenged elicit a response that’s always out of proportion. Sula is a couldn't-care-less woman whose threatening individuality alienates her from her community. For this she is taken to task. Her own dealings with her family and the community bespeak a cruelty she's picked up in the course of her contact with the outer world. She, a black woman, treats her own kith and kin with a shade of contempt with which they had always been treated by the White Others.Her character elicits mixed reactions. Sometimes you want to blame her, sometimes blame her family, sometimes you want to blame the sudden rush of new ideas that has thrown the whole social equation out of balance. Was it the new life among the white folks that turned her against herself? Or was it to do with her troubled early years, living as she did with her mother who had taken to selling sex as the most natural vocation a woman might take when her husband walked out on her, causing a rupture in relations with the community? Or did her people, unable to take her novelty, pushed her to the wall, turned her into an alien in her own skin? What made Sula, Sula? This is a question you'll be grappling with by the end of the novel.“You been gone too long, Sula.Not too long, but maybe too far.”Originally posted February '15Reworked September '15

  • Violet wells
    2019-02-25 01:08

    This is the first time I’ve ever struggled to review a book I’ve read. Perhaps this relentless English rain is getting to me and addling my brain? Not that Sula was in any way bad. Just that I find my response to it is as mysterious as the book itself. I could say it’s been a while since I read Toni Morrison and my first response was excitement at the reminder of how stunningly she can write a sentence – “Grass stood blade by blade, shocked into separateness by an ice that held for days”. I could say it’s about two girls who strike up a poignant intimacy as children and how one becomes a compromised adult and the other becomes the quintessential outsider until she’s resented and feared by her entire neighbourhood, a neighbourhood that seems to exist on a barren island, cut off from the wider world of opportunity and hope – everyone’s hopes are centred on the rumoured construction of a tunnel and a bridge to the neighbouring town. And how it does a moving job of showing how all the odds are stacked against a black woman living in the USA in the first half of the 20th century – “ because each had discovered years before they were neither white nor male and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden them they set about something else to be." I could say it’s a strange mix of poetic myth and grubby realism with perhaps an absence of narrative drive, of compelling storytelling. Despite the beauty of its language and its moving chronicling of appalling social injustice – “the staggering childish malevolence of their employers”. In fact, I think that’s what I’ll say and leave it at that – except to conclude that in this novel all Morrison’s immense gifts as a writer are on display, except her genius of weaving them all together into riveting storytelling. The ending though is fabulous. 3.5 stars.The sun's just come out!

  • Chris
    2019-03-02 07:15

    Toni Morrison is the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, the flea's eyebrows, the canary's tusks, the eel's ankle, the snake's hip, and the mutt's nuts.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-02-27 05:11

    349. Sula, Toni MorrisonSula is a 1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, her second to be published after The Bluest Eye.عنوان: سولا ؛ اثر: تونی موریسون؛ (نشر قله)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه سپتامبر سال 2012 میلادیعنوان: سولا؛ اثر: تونی موریسون؛ مترجم: گلرخ سعیدنیا؛ ویراستار: فاطمه تیموری؛ تهران، نشر قله، 1387؛ در 226 ص؛ شابک: 9649204806؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 مسولا، اثر موریسون، سرگذشت و زندگی دو زن سیاه پوست است در اوهایو، زندگی «سولا» و دوست عزیزش «نل»، از کودکی تا بلوغ، و از بلوغ تا مرگ. رمان، جایزه کتاب ملی منتقدان را نیز کسب کرده است. ا. شربیانی

  • Barry Pierce
    2019-03-16 23:59

    I always thought of Toni Morrison as one of those writers that your mother reads. Y'know, somewhere in the realms of Danielle Steel. How wrong was I eh? For something so short, the breadth of time and story is remarkable. I loved the dichotomous friendship of Nel and Sula and its eventual result. This novel is surprisingly disgusting as well, like Bret Easton Ellis disturbing. I like twisted tales though and I definitely like Morrison. More like this please!

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-01 05:07

    She had no center, no speck around which to grow.I can't start to explain this book or the feeling I get each time a new chapter (numbered according to years) gives me the anxious expectation similar to unwrapping a piece of chocolate from the box of assortments - you never know what you'll get. I can't accurately explain why this fluidity of language, this mixture of elegant vernacular, this exhilarating and encompassing flow of words forms trails down my spine and envelops me into a warm cocoon that somehow makes me feel shielded, somehow makes me feel understood. I can't pinpoint a character who Sula reminds me of, so uniquely peculiar and atypical she is that even though I don't necessarily like her, nor am I drawn to her, I still understand the themes she embodies, her skepticism about the world, her desire to live in her dreams and her disdain for conformity.There, in the center of that silence was not eternity but the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning. For loneliness assumed the absence of other people, and the solitude she found in that desperate terrain had never admitted the possibility of other people.I can't even start to decipher this ornately drawn friendship between Nel and Sula, this sisterhood that is too tightly boarded to enter, and yet still fragile enough to form cracks; a friendship "so close, they themselves had difficulty distinguishing one's thoughts from the other's." They were solitary little girls whose loneliness was so profound it intoxicated them and sent them stumbling into Technicolored visions that always included a presence, a someone, who, quite like the dreamer, shared the delight of the dream.I can't articulate the juxtaposed gloom and excitement that riddles the city of Medallion, nor the irony of the city segregated but still atop a hill that protects and shields the rest of the community from nature's doom; can't explain properly, or conjure up fairly, the delectable concoction of lust and betrayal and jealousy and strife that parallels one woman's psychological journey and self-realization. What I can say is that this is a Toni Morrison novel that stands apart in its singularness, a book and author you have to read to understand, a book that surprisingly doesn't appear in many book club reads even though it would make for pretty interesting discussions. This is the fourth novel of my Morrison journey I started a couple of years ago. First The Bluest Eye, then Paradise, and later, Home. And I can't wait to keep exploring.

  • Edward Lorn
    2019-03-14 23:55

    Sula is very nearly a horror novel. We're not talking serial killers or unstoppable monstrosities, but raw human horror, the kind of horror of which I wish there was more. Toni Morrison might cringe to think anyone would consider her work in the same breath as horror fiction, but there are quite a few disturbing scenes, ones that I will not spoil or even allude to in this review. I want you to experience them for yourselves. Needless to say, I was shocked by the brutality, and pleasantly surprised at Morrison's powerful storytelling abilities. None of the horror detracts from the beauty of the writing. In fact, I think the beautiful prose and horrific scenes wonderfully compliment each other. I'm reminded of such affecting fiction as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Of Mice and Men. Simple yet striking. Not a wasted word in sight. It is no wonder Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beloved, the novel for which she won the Nobel, will be my next read from her.Morrison narrates her own book, and does a fantastic job. I highly recommend the audiobook, but you should read this in any form. In summation: I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Sula. It is a novel I wish I had read sooner. Epic in scope and destructively sorrowful, Sula is must-read material for fans of arresting literary fiction.Final Judgment: We started at the Bottom now we're here.

  • Zanna
    2019-03-14 01:21

    I'm grateful to Rowena for inviting me to join The Year of Reading Toni Morrison group which spurred me to read this now. It's one of Toni Morrison's shorter works, and in her brief introduction to this edition, she notes its uniqueness in having a friendly, comfortable opening to orient the outsider (possibly white) reader.Ignor[ing] the gentle welcome [would] put the reader into immediate confrontation with his wounded mind ['the emotional luggage one carries into the black-topic text']. It would have called greater attention to the traumatic displacement this most wasteful capitalist war had on black people, and thrown into relief their desperate and desperately creative strategies of survival. In the revised opening I tried to represent discriminatory, prosecutorial racial oppression as well as the community's efforts t remain stable and healthy: the neighborhood has been almost completely swept away by commercial interests (a golf course), but the remains of what sustained it (music, dancing, craft, religion, irony, wit) are what the “valley man,” the stranger, sees – or could have seen. It is a more inviting embrace [...] it helps to unify the neighborhood until Sula's anarchy challenges it.Outlaw women are fascinating – not always for their behaviour, but because historically women are seen as naturally disruptive and their status is an illegal one from birth if it is not under the rule of men. In much literature a woman's escape from male rule led to regret, misery, if not complete disaster. In Sula I wanted to explore the consequences of what that escape might be, on not only a conventional black society, but on female friendship.The friendship in question is between two girls who have extraordinary women among their foremothers. Nel's conservative mother Helene, raised by her grandmother, has come to the town to get away from her own mother, sex worker and thus 'outlaw' woman Rochelle, who has no role in Nel's life. Sula's mother and grandmother are accepted by the community but widely censured for their promiscuity and disorderly household.Nel only has the courage to defy her mother's disapproval and embark on a friendship with Sula when she experiences a moment of self-discovery after a trip she and her mother made to see Helene's ailing grandmother. This long train journey is an important event in her young life, and involves a key scene, where Helene somewhat inadvertently smiles at a white conductor who is treating her in a degrading way. The smile, a nervous, defensive reaction, exacerbates her own and Nel's humiliation, and earns the disgust of fellow black passengers. Nel looks at her respected and respectable mother and sees her as 'custard', fearing that she too might be of the same stuff underneath, sickly, cloying, unresisting, pale custard. She meets her despised grandmother and is intrigued by her, and on returning home, reaches the epiphany “I'm not their daughter, I'm not Nel, I'm me. Me.” She does not have to become either of these women.In Sula's family 'loving men' is the habitual way of being. Toni writes this loving sweetly; women and men demand little from each other and share much pleasure. Eva, Sula's grandmother, takes in children loose in the community, but the care she provides is minimal. Sula feels rejected by her own mother, Hannah, when she overhears her talking about children to some friends. The narration is so hands-off, so free of judgement, that a sympathetic response to all of the characters was automatic to me at first, and I had to be startled into a more thoughtful frame of mind. The casualness of the narrative voice in relation to Sula's household reflects the community's attitude towards them, this the storyteller subtly seems to take on a kind of collective embodiment (and unreliability) which also comes to attention in the stark instances of foreshadowing. At such moments in the text I felt myself in the circle around the fire at the telling, and was pushed to search my own feeling about Sula, Nel and other characters rather than accept narrative guidance uncritically.One aspect of the story that was very illuminating to me, was a marriage made for what seemed an appalling reasons; a man's desire to affirm his masculinity in defiance of the company that is refusing to hire black workers for a local infrastructure project. However, the marriage is a modest success. I think as a white woman I got insight from that into the expectations black people, especially women, might have had of marriage and relationships in the town; while white girls were socialised to expect effortless bliss from marriage and romantic relationships generally, the expectation here was more of a life one could fit oneself to and make work. Of course this is a simple idea, though rich in cultural and socio-political import and implication, and in the context sheds light on Nel's psychology, but it pulled me up short, it woke me, again. In discussion, Rowena shared her thoughts on the idea of love in the African-American context as TM writes it in The Bluest Eye and in Sula - she concluded that love meant 'providing for'. This helps me with Nel and her husband, but I feel an intergenerational rift between Eva and her daughter Hannah; there is slippage in the meaning of love that divides them and leaves Sula, Hannah's daughter uncertain, unable to connect, unable to love even, because the world has opened to her enough to make space for a larger love that her family couldn't prepare her for.Verbal communication is scarce, even between Nel and Sula. One day they dig holes at the river bank and bury some rubbish, silently. I felt that they were sharing their fears about the lives of women, in a way that was beyond them to express in words. Perhaps this was successful. At other times though, I feel that people are silenced by their trauma and that this silence causes further hurt. When Sula and Nel do fail to understand each other, the rift comes deep out of their histories. When one of Sula's lovers reads unspoken signs of her devotion and makes a decision to conclude their relationship, he says nothing.In the group's discussion of the book one of the contributors suggested that Toni Morrison 'forces us to look at life unflinchingly with the hope we'll get it right before it's too late.' This comment made me consider what the characters and community might have done differently to make their stories, especially Sula & Nel's, less painful, and it's a hard question. There is no fatefulness about the mood, no feeling of inevitability, but on reflection the pressures on the community become more and more evident; neither college nor respectability are effective remedies for their trouble. The only thing I can think of is the breaking of silence.

  • jo
    2019-03-27 06:04

    Ψαχνοντας μικρα σε μεγεθος βιβλια για να εχω ετοιμα για διαβασμα στο κινητο μου επεσα πανω σε αυτο το μικρο διαμαντακι. Την Toni Morrison την ειχα ακουστα απο διαφορα post που εβλεπα απο σελιδες που εχουν σα θεμα τους τα βιβλια και μπορω να πω πως μου ειχε δημιουργηθει μια ενδομυχη περιεργεια να δω τι ακριβως μπορει να γραψει. Χαιρομαι τελικα που της εδωσα μια ευκαιρια διοτι ειναι εκπληκτικη συγγραφεας.Το πρωτο μισο της ιστοριας ηταν εξαιρετικο.Ξεκιναει με την ιστορια των γονιων των κεντρικων ηρωιδων,μαλλον μονο των μητερων τους, και μας δειχνει πολυ ομορφα τα ηθη,εθιμα και τους τροπους με τους οποιους επιβιωναν οι μαυρες γυναικες που ηταν άτυχες διοτι δεν ηταν ουτε ασπρες αλλα ουτε και αντρες. Μου αρεσε πολυ ο ποιητικος λογος της συγγραφεας που σκιαγραφει τοσο ερεθιστικα τα παντα μεσα στο βιβλιο και σε τραβαει απο τα μαλλια μεσα στις σελιδες του. Οι Eve,η Helene,η Hannah και τα δυο κοριτσια (Sula και Nel) ειναι απιστευτα ομορφες γυναικες. Δυνατες,ελευθερες και σοκαριστικα αισθησιακες. Η παιδικη φιλια των κοριτσιων ειναι ζηλευτη,δυο σωματα μια ψυχη.Το δευτερο και τελευταιο μισο με εκανε να αντιπαθησω παρα πολυ την Sula η οποιο φυλακισμενη μεσα στην ψευτικη αισθηση ελευθεριας που ενιωθε πληγωνε τους παντες γυρω της. Πνιγμενη απο την ιδια της την αδυναμια να καταλαβει οτι το προβλημα ειναι οτι βρισκεται σε μια φυλακη την οδηγει να γινει η ντροπη της κοινωτητας στην οποια ζει και συναμα να τους χαριζει μια..ανωτεροτητα.Η γειτονια των μαυρων ηταν τοποθετημενη επανω σε εναν λοφο οπου κανεις λευκος δεν ηθελε να ζησει.Εκει ακριβως διαδραματιζεται η ιστορια,με ηρωες περηφανους ανθρωπους που ζουν τον ρατσισμο και την καταπιεση επι μονιμου βασεως αλλα την αντιμετωπιζει με τοση αξιοπρεπεια και αυτο κανει ακομα πιο ευχαριστω το βιβλιο.Ειναι μια ησυχη μα πολυ δυνατη ιστορια. Ενα διαμαντακι. Αν πεσει στα χερια σας καποιο βιβλιο της σιγουρα να το διαβασετε,η γυναικα ξερει να γραφει!https://cherrybookreviews.wordpress.c...

  • Nicholas Armstrong
    2019-03-01 01:11

    I want to first preface this with a concept presented by Harold Bloom. Bloom was discussing the admission or omission of 'ethnic' writers from the canon. He argued the reason there were so many white male writers is because, obviously, of societal factors of oppression, but also because they were the ones doing most of the writing. Bloom does not think we should rewrite the canon with new ethnic writers just because there aren't any. He DOES think an ethnic writer is important and should be acknowledged if they are good, but a lot of them are not. A lot of them simply write about ethnic scenarios and nothing else, and this is a very limited scope indeed.Morrison has expressly said that her goal is to create a black canon. This is the opposite of equality. We are not going to get a proper collection of amazing authors by saying we need a collection of just whites, just blacks, just jews, etc. The fact that Morrison ONLY writes about blacks and oppression limits her writing even more. Do not mistake me in thinking Sula isn't also about women, motherhood, and families, but, then again, so are most of her novels.This novel, much like Beloved, is about the hardships of motherhood and being black. There are numerous instances in the novel that do nothing but attack whites and men, sometimes both, sometimes just the one, and they don't seem to me to be furthering a point or purpose in the novel except to say that men are kind of awful and whites are certainly awful. Is the only way to write a story about black people to write about when they were oppressed, segregated and enslaved? I thought it was more complex than that. Similarly, I thought women were defined by something much larger than their sexual tendencies, but I'm sure now that I'm mistaken.I've been called a racist and a sexist for disliking Morrison. That's fine, well, no, it isn't, but what I mean is I don't care. I value ethnic writers that are good writers, not BECAUSE they are ethnic, but because they are amazing writers (Sherman Alexie and James Baldwin come to mind). Morrison's stories are too similar for my taste, too acidic, too inflammatory. In my readings of her, her stories have numerous plot holes and unexplained oddities, but I guess that's an eccentricity that no one cares to comment on because her novels are so socially important.I'll continue to read books that are 'socially unimportant' but that manage to be remarkably well-structured, crafted, and told stories. I suppose that makes me quite an awful person, though.

  • Onaiza Khan
    2019-03-03 02:09

    What a captivating book. Can't get over it.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-13 02:10

    I received this book for free through a complimentary Quarterly Literary Box. After hearing much about her, I have finally read a book by Toni Morrison. I really enjoyed this book. The way Morrison writes is so beautiful. She definitely has a way with words. The story itself was interesting. Sula and Nel together were so interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female friendship quite like that before. Sula had this ethereal quality about her that was really captivating.

  • Tori (InToriLex)
    2019-03-02 03:56

    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex When I first read this in high school, I loved it but I didn't have the life experience to understand it, that I do now. This book connects with me, because the culture is familiar. Growing up in a black family,  knowing how burdensome and destructive racism is, this broke my heart all over again. The story focuses on Nel and Sula, two best friends who lose each other and have to deal with the after. Friendship between women, is an undervalued part of the black community, and is usually judged  by the viral images of black women fighting, all over social media. Morrison manages to describe friendship, while explaining the consequences of living in and getting by in the Bottom."He knew the smell of death and was terrified of it, for he could not anticipate it. It was not death or dying that frightened him, but the unexpectedness of both. " The Bottom is the community where this book takes place. Its peculiarity and the individuals who occupy it, illustrate how broken people can find a way to persevere. The community itself was above attacking people, even if they saw them as evil, that's why Sula is tolerated. Sula is viewed as evil because she rejects family life and the morals that the community relies on. Sula's selfishness can be interpreted in many ways, but I read it as an alternative way of survival. Dealing with a world that tells you over and over your not important, can manifest in many ways. Morrison's poetic writing style and metaphors, makes me swoon every time I read it.I would recommend this book to everyone, because it honestly portrays the feelings of black life. Sula focuses on our notions of what we accept as feminine, as good, as womanhood and why.  It manages to discuss racism, feelings of inadequacy, post traumatic stress disorder and how a community can be a living organism. It's descriptions of despair, and loneliness are a visceral experience. This is powerful storytelling, and I am overjoyed that it exists. It reminds everyone who reads it, that black people have a unique and important cultural experience.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-13 04:08

    I disliked Sula.Sula the book was great; a bit dry at points, but - of course - very well written, very well rendered by Toni Morrison. This is my first TM book, and I think it was a good introduction.Hannah is one of my favorite characters. I am quite baffled as to how someone could describe a woman who basically sleeps with every man in town but make her seem so tame and likeable that I can't count it against her. I think that's the point; she was dependent on someone else for her financial security and standing, and was therefore not a threat to the wives of any of the men with whom she slept.Eva is a real piece of work. Some mighty resemblances to my own grandmother. Shadrack plays a huge part in major events in the novel, but because there are only two distinct points when we get a look inside his head - the beginning and the ending - his effects are very subtle.Sula the character infuriated me. When she is described as a part of Nel, her childhood friend, I can't help but love her, but the damage that girl seems to do by herself is just insane. Before I go into a rant about her, I will say that in Morrison's introduction she specifically notes that she wanted to show the tragedy, among other things, that encases a black woman whose freedom is not really freedom. Not having a husband was financially dangerous, and she was not the sort of person to indebt herself, or submit her will to another's will. Nel was a good other half on account of Sula's unbelievable rashness; Nel would be there to counter and minimize the damage. But when Sula destroyed a relationship in her best friend's adult life, everything - and I do mean everything - goes straight downhill. Sula no longer has her other half there to temper her. Toni Morrison's is very poetic, but her language is something else that I can't quite conjure in the form of words. While I'm reading I'll find myself flowing along and all of a sudden "WHOA! Are you saying that really happened? I have to go back and read that again." She has this uncanny subtlety when transitioning into and describing major events.

  • Lawsonlitgeek
    2019-03-12 02:23

    I teach this book in my English classes because it’s short, which curtails the student’s whining somewhat, it satisfies the multi-culti demands by the college, but mostly I teach it because it’s a great fucking book.Morrison wrote an introduction in which he says she wanted to talk about social problems, always a kiss of death for good stories, but her literary genius took the reins from her social activist. That is to say, her characters don’t stop to scold the reader or go through punishments to illuminate social wrongs. Instead, they are flawed people doing the best they can in their circumstances.The title character, Sula, is a piece of work, an anti-hero in the existential mode. Her family, the ironically-named Peace family, is murderous, perhaps suicidal, vividly rendered and memorable long after the book is read. Sula, Morrison tells us, is an artist without an art form, someone who doesn’t care to verify herself. For Morrison to make her the center of the novel is pretty brave considering American readers expect likeable protagonists. I like Sula. She is funny; her dialogue with Nel is a highlight of the book. And she acts as a catalyst for the folks of Bottom to be better people. We all need a devil.I like the book for its Modernist sensibility. It came out during the self-reflexive Post Modern period (1973), but its influences must be Ellison, Faulkner, and Woolf. She loves paradoxes; my favorite being Sula’s hell is a life unchanging, while Nel’s hell is change itself. And those who have felt both know it’s both. She also has great symbols of earth, fire, and water. And she doesn’t answer the questions she raises. Does Hanna kill herself or was it an accident? What is that dirtball that Nel sees in her sadness and depression?Mostly, I like it because it’s a story of friendship. Sula’s and Nel’s friendship is one for the ages. They love and betray each other. They resemble each other and remain polar opposites. All this in 174 pages, pretty amazing.

  • Britta Böhler
    2019-03-20 02:16

    Quick re-read for Max' bookclub Uncovered.

  • Allyson
    2019-03-09 05:59

    The usual caveats apply with regards to my review and rating of this book (see my profile), but overall I didn't enjoy Sula because it made me profoundly uncomfortable. I distinctly remember feeling depressed and disheartened by the premise put forth by the novel that in order for a woman to be truly free, she had to behave like Sula--whose behavior I found quirky at best and reprehensible at worst. What's more, even Sula with all her freedom didn't seem to be truly happy--there were still too many external constraints. It seemed like the best that could be said was that she was as free as she could be. I guess in some ways that's a truth about life, that none of us are completely free, only as free as we can be, but having it described to me in black-and-white in such a naked way made me feel alternately angry and despairing.As for the behavior that I refer to as "reprehensible," I feel strongly that there are certain things that, no matter what, you just don't do to the women you love. Top amongst those things is sleeping with their husbands. To me it doesn't matter that Sula's best friend's husband was a lousy husband in the first place, sleeping with him wasn't the appropriate way to draw that to the attention of her friend (whose name I can no longer remember). But while I found it hard to forgive Sula for that act, I found it even harder to forgive her best friend, who ultimately realized that it was not her husband for whome she pined, but Sula and effectively forgave Sula for her thoughtless indiscretion.I am much older now than I was when I read "Sula," and I better understand now that life and relationships are far more complicated than I ever imagined as a teen-ager. What's more, I can't in all honesty or good conscience claim that I have never done anything with regards to love or sex that I really shouldn't have or that I regret; I am not above reproach. But it was her *best friend*'s husband, and that to me makes a big difference.All that said, I will agree that Morrison's writing style is lyrical, elegant and haunting. But in this case, I simply cannot overcome the content, which I find to be distressing, to fully relish the beauty and richness of her language. However, the final little song Sula sings to herself, "I have sung all the songs there are to sing," stays with me to this day.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-02-25 03:09

    I really enjoyed Sula, although The Bluest Eye, my first Toni Morrison read, remains my favorite. The book lays open the stark choices that women had for most of the 20th century, between staid, upright housewife and woman of the world. I still don’t know how to discuss the book without giving away too much. Let me just say that Sula follows the relationship of two African-American girls — the polar opposites, Nel and Sula — in an Ohio river town from the 1920s into 1940.Unlike a lot of “serious literature” (I’m talking about you, Ulysses, Moby-Dick, The Waste Land, and Beloved (Sorry, Ms. Morrison)), Sula proves easy to devour and follow — and unforgettable nonetheless. Recommended for anyone who has ever loved — and lost — a best friend. (Emily Erkan, I miss you still.)

  • Barbara
    2019-03-13 00:12

    'The Bottom' is a community of black families in the hills above the valley city of Medallion, Ohio where white families live. The story begins in the early 1920's - just after the end of WWI - and traumatized soldiers are returning to town. The main characters in the story are Nel and Sula, who bond as young schoolgirls in 'The Bottom.' Nel is the only child of a repressed mother determined to control every aspect of Nel's life, while Sula grows up in a rather raucous extended family. This includes her grandmother Eva - an elegant woman who lost a leg in mysterious circumstances; her mother Hannah - a free-spirit who exudes sex appeal and beds almost every man she meets; a disturbed alcoholic renter; and Eva's other children - Plum and Eva Jr. Some members of the household are lost in various tragic circumstances that are difficult to comprehend and which probably affect Sula deeply.Nel and Sula accidentally cause the death of a young boy, which they keep secret. They also engage in the usual youthful antics, enticing young men and dreaming of their futures. Then Sula leaves town and Nel marries a local boy, has children, and becomes a respected member of the community. Ten years later Sula returns and Nel is thrilled; however there is soon an irreparable break in the women's relationship which throws Nel's life off kilter. Moreover, Sula generally acts with such abandon (copying some of her own mother's behavior) that most local people label her a witch and shun her. This is rather slight story whose strength lies in the memorable characters - and Toni Morrison is a master of characterization. With relatively brief but pithy descriptions and scenes she gives us a feel for the motivation of the important characters. We're able to understand (a little) about their turmoil and why they behave as they do - causing heartache and chaos around themselves. I'm not quite sure I 'enjoyed' the book per se (as I found parts quite disturbing) but it's certainly worth reading.You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  • ✨jamieson ✨
    2019-03-04 03:08

    “It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.” My entire literary education has been filled with vague references to Toni Morrison - and yet despite years and years of knowing her name, knowing she was brilliant and hearing so, so much about the beauty of her novels I never picked up one of her books until now. Sula is a beautiful book. Toni Morrison understands the hearts of people, seems to be able to perceive the souls of humans and writes about them with such aching accuracy. Her characters are so well fleshed out and complex, beings of neither good nor bad, but full of passion and life and brilliance. I loved the ambiguity of this book, and how clear it was made that people aren't all good or bad, mean and nice - and that maybe we need a little both of both good and bad. Sula is populated with so many different characters - so many strong, independent and fierce women. But so many tired women as well, or hopeless ones. Women who settle, women who refuse to. Women who are spiteful and envious, but also kind and generous and loving. “Lonely, ain't it?Yes, but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else's. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain't that something? A secondhand lonely.” By far for me though, the highlight is the discussions of gender, race, community and how these aspects of our identity intersect. This book is incredibly poignant and still relevant to our current social climate. I must also comment on Toni Morrison's writing, because it is incredible beautiful. Very poetic and lyrical at times, but at others sharp and funny. Her writing literally could not be faulted - I found myself rereading passaged just because they were so beautiful. “There in the center of that silence was not eternity but the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning. ” I absolutely loved this - such a perfect mix of quirky and lyrics, full of beauty but also tragedy and pain and desperation. The characters are so well written, they basically pop from the page - they feel entirely real to me. I wish I had read one of her books sooner, but I'm definitely thinking of picking up more soon. This has shot to the top five of my favourite classics ever.

  • Shannon *Eboni Scarlett* Holliday
    2019-03-18 01:15

    Sula was a gift to me from an old boyfriend who I had been having trust issues with. I never forget he gave me this book as a birthday gift. I read it feeling mixed with emotions regarding my thoughts of his cheating or potential cheating with other women. Nonetheless, I read this book. I remember getting mad at Sula because it seemed no matter who was nice or extended kindness to her she always managed to have a negative reaction towards them. After finishing this book I recall feeling angry with her. Determined to discover a lesson or morale of the story after reflecting on Sula's actions and behaviors I realized...Just because one extends kindness to another does not mean one will receive kindness in return from that individual to whom kindness was extended. Kindness although a moral conscious act, is a choice just as being unkind is a cognitive action. The doer who extends kindness must understand and be aware that the person to whom kindness is extended isn't necessarily the person from whom kindness will be extended. For this reason, when we give in word or deed it is good to give as though we are giving unto God through whom acts of kindness will be rewarded. From that day to the present, I have applied this lesson in my experiences and in doing so it has helped me to cope with or walk away from situations.

  • Cher
    2019-03-07 07:10

    2 stars - Meh. Just ok.Toni Morrison has been on my personal "must read" authors list for years, so it is especially disappointing to find that her style is simply not a good fit for my tastes. This book jumps from one unpleasant subject to the next, bouncing in and out of a stream of consciousness flow. While appropriate for the time in which the novel is set, I also found the repetitive, constant focus on race to be platitudinous and unfortunate. There are far more things I would like to know about her characters (even the most minor of characters) than the color of their skin. -------------------------------------------Favorite Quote: Being good to somebody is just like being mean to somebody. Risky. You don't get nothing for it.First Sentence: In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.

  • Metoka
    2019-02-25 03:16

    Sula is controversial and she doesn't care. This is a novel about friendship in its most overwhelming form - not two women as friends, but two women as one: sharing, sharing, sharing until sharing was no longer appropriate...but does Sula know that? Did Nel?Best lines:1. "When you gone to get married? You need to have some babies. It'll settle you""I don't want to make somebody else. I want to make myself."2. "She had been looking all along for a friend, and it took her a while to discover that a lover was not a comrade and could never be—for a woman. And that no one would ever be that version of herself which she sought to reach out to and touch with an ungloved hand. There was only her own mood and whim, and if that was all there was, she decided to turn the naked hand toward it, discover it, and let others become as intimate with their own selves as she was"

  • Rose
    2019-03-22 03:00

    I can now say I've read this author whom I've heard of for years now & can agree that she's a terrific writer, her way with words is lovely & leaves a lasting impression & I'll definitely read some of her other books. That said I will regretfully admit this story was deeply depressing & I disliked almost all the characters. I found them all to be pretty selfish & cruel & just a really unpleasant lot. The friendship between Nel & Sula was completely unimaginative as it has been done numerous times before. Opposites girls, one who is quieter, plays more by the rules & is straight laced & the wild, free one who marches to the beat of a different drummer blah, blah, blah. I knew what would happen to their friendship & why after reading only a few pages & therefore was thoroughly unimpressed. As for Sula, she was such an unlikable character, not the kind you love to hate, you just hate her, period. There was a sadness in this story that was really heartfelt, but it was just too much. Everyone was miserable, everyone suffered, hardly anyone had any redeeming qualities & I just wanted someone, anyone, to be kind, to do something good. I can read sad books, some of my favorites have people suffering from beginning to end, but you feel for them, you don't hate them. I disliked the people in this story, but the writing was fantastic & I'd give that 5 stars.

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-14 00:22

    It could be that I read this book a long time ago and am misremembering it. It could be that I read this book for a college lit class and had a terrible professor. However, I did not much care for this book.Here is what I remember about this book as it was taught to me by an awful college professor who would scream at the class and give bad grades to anyone who disagreed with her:Sula and Nel are super-best friends throughout their childhood. Sula moves away. Nel gets married and has some kids. Sula comes back. Sula sleeps around with the married men, but people tolerate this because the married men always go back to their wives after sleeping with Sula. This is considered a good thing because all men want to cheat, but once they do, they go back to their wives like nothing happened. Sula sleeps with Nel's husband and he leaves her. Everybody hates Sula, especially Nel, who is left to raise three kids by herself. Sula dies. Nel realizes that she didn't miss her husband, she missed her friend Sula. Nel is sad because Sula is dead, even though Sula stole her husband and she had to raise three kids by herself. Also, a baby is constipated, and his mother sodomizes him with vegetables until he defecates. The baby later grows up, fights in a war, and comes home with severe PTSD. His mother murders him because he has "changed".This book was awful.