Taught me a lesson I should’ve known all alone: what you do to children matters, and they might never forget.
— God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
I used a completely new way to start Toni Morrison. It’s my first Toni Morrison, but certainly not the last one. The form is an audio book in trial period narrated by Toni Morrison herself, unabridged.
Listening to the story unfolding with Toni Morrison’s narrator is like walking in a labyrinth with grassed walls in a huge garden, in colonial time with African slaves. Trying to figure out the plot, one could be so focused in her narrating, with weathered and aged voice, it feels like a grandma telling you life experience. Wonderful. Possibly, the structure of the book wasn’t designed for listeners, but the result of listening to the book is surprisingly positive.
Judging by the title, people ask whether it is for children to read, well, no. As we all tried to deceive children with some whitewashed facts and realities, in this book, they are going to encounter the “nicest guy in the world” who “wouldn’t kill a fly” be a child molester and serial killer. That’s not hard, you know, human mind, bang, one can be sick. But hard on the kids. We all once were kids, asking parents who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in a movie, knowing everything should be black or white, well, let me introduce you the color called “grey”, said “adult society”.
Kids raped with the help of their prostitute mother by her clients, running away trying to survive on the street, I could feel the clash and conflict of color black and white, as the most visual colours well as the representative of what is true and what is false. Is there something like that?
The funny thing is, we all try to hide the dirty part of the society from our kids, wanting them to never enter the stage, needless to say to play a role, or never walking out of the bubble we created for them. As they grow up, they should find out themselves? Is it more hurting? But when they have the power and resilience to endure and surpass the shock, parents will always be proud of them. What if they won’t? Shame? Scorn? That’s their problems? Hard to know. But I’d venture to believe, truth is always welcomed.