Toni Morrison is a profound writer who that takes you on a journey of self-discovery in her novels. Her writing evokes questions about life, the choices you make, the heartaches you experience, the pain you feel, the joyous moments that uplifts you, the tragedies that plague your family, the regrets you ponder, and the list goes on.
In her novella, Home, Toni Morrison pulls no punches when she writes about Frank Money's journey back to Lotus, Georgia. Frank aka "Smart Money" is a Korean war veteran who is angry, broke, occasionally delusional, suffers from nightmares, hates where he grew up, but would risk everything to go back home to save his medically abused younger sister. Life hasn’t been easy for this man who loses himself in a bottle of whisky and the occasional warmth of a woman’s bosom. All this would take a backseat once he receives a letter to come rescue his sister before it’s too late.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novella. It was chock full of great dialogue and descriptions that pulled you into the scenes with raw emotions. I was right there walking next to Frank as he stumbles in and out of his war memories, his delusions of the man in the Zoot suit, his inability to really show his feelings for the woman who showed him love, etc. I felt his pain and also his love for the one person he felt needed protection…his sister, his only family.
Although this story was set in the 1950s, the same struggles that plagued Frank still applies today to soldiers who have faught in more recent wars. The feelings of isolation, abandonment, destruction, and being fragmented from society were all things that Frank dealt with and Toni did an excellent job in showing readers how he made peace with it all.
Overall, this was a story about introspection, forgiveness, strength, courage and love of family. But more importantly, it was about starting over with a new appreciation for life! Two thumbs up!
Some of my favorite lines:
Lotus, Georgia, is the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield. At least on the field there is a goal, excitement, daring, and some chance of winning along with many chances of losing. Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.
In Lotus you did know in advance since there was no future, just long stretches of killing time. There was no goal other than breathing, nothing to win and, save for somebody else’s quiet death, nothing to survive or worth surviving for. If not for my two friends I would have suffocated by the time I was twelve. Thy, along with my little sister kept the indifference of parents and the hatefulness of grandparents an afterthought. Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything. It sure didn’t look like anyplace you’d want to be. Maybe a hundred or so people living in some fifty spread-out rickety houses. Nothing to do but mindless work in fields you didn’t own, couldn’t own and wouldn’t own if you had any other choice.