The basics: This novella, at its simplest, is the story of Frank Money, a black Korean War veteran and his reacclimation into a racist, divided society. More specifically, it's about Frank's journey back to the rural, poor Georgia town he hoped he'd never return to.
My thoughts: What I loved about this book from its first pages was realizing with this book, the simple is also the complex. I'll confess: Toni Morrison used to intimidate me. Looking back, I think I tried to read her on my own far too young. I picked Song of Solomon off a summer reading list when I was fifteen, and I'd never read anything like it. I knew I wasn't really understanding it. It was the kind of novel I needed someone to teach me or talk about with me. Instead, I let all of her other works intimidate me too. I'm so glad I picked up Home because it reminds me of how different a reader I am at 31 than I was at 15. It also truly introduced me to how much I enjoy, emotionally and intellectually, Toni Morrison's work.
But back to the surface simplicity of this novella. I could recount the plot of this book, but it wouldn't do it justice. I will say this: Frank Money's journey through this book is both one he shares with the reader and one he takes alone. This duality is fascinating, and its layers enhance the power and tragedy in this slim volume. As I read, I found myself captivated by both story and construction. The novella works on its own plot, but more astute readers will appreciate the construction and layers of theme and meaning. It's most impressive she can portray heartbreaking brutality gently and without sensationalizing it. The power of this novel is its simplicity: the tragedies lay at and below the surface.
Favorite passages: "They practiced what they had been taught by their mothers during the period that rich people called the Depression and the called life."
"It's just as sad as it ought to be and I'm not going to hide from what's true just because it hurts."
The verdict: Home is as loud as it is quiet. It's as tender as it is heart-wrenching. It's as haunting as it is beautiful. It's beautifully written and crafted so perfectly, I had to read the first chapter again as soon as I finished the last one.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 160 pages
Publication date: May 8, 2012
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
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