Sula by Toni Morrison is a reflection of the cultural sensibilities of an African American community residing in Medallion during the 20th century. While the book is predominantly based off the lives of Nel and Sula, two childhood bestfriends, we are privy to how the society plays an important role in shaping them. This book chronicles the journeys that different people embark on in a white folks dominated world. Filled with irony, backstabbing and peculiar instances; Sula makes for an interesting read.
Honestly, what made me buy this book was the fact that I heard it had something to do with witches. But what I found was something so disparate and yet mesmerizing. It had such good content and diverse perspectives which all fell into place towards the end. Firstly, the fact that the African American’s were forced to live on a hilltop that was called “Bottom” was so horribly wrong. While the Whites enjoyed the comforts of the valley, they wanted to ensure that African Americans understood their place. Moreover, it was a difficult time in Medallion where work was seldom found. Sula’s family barely got by. As children, Sula and Nel were inseparable and so close. But then as they grow up, Sula’s way of life and opinions begin to diverge. When she comes back to town, after ten years, their friendship is not the same. This was my first Toni Morrison book and many a times, I found myself enthralled by her descriptions. The way she captures emotions, particularly Nel’s forlornness and Sula’s brazen thoughts, is different. The book is split into chapters that cover a year each. So that was a nice touch to the book. I did not love the book because at times I found myself a little lost with what was going on and so I would have to read the section again. Moreover, some of the characters were rather passive. But it should definitely be read atleast once.
Ratings – 3 stars on 5.