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This book is so good. You can pick up anything by Toni Morrison and know it’s good. Song of Solomon follows around Milkman, who is trying to find his way. He’s born into a family that has some money–his dad is a landlord. Quiet mom, two quiet sisters.
All that would be pretty ordinary if it weren’t for his aunt who lived nearby who was witchy and magical and natural. He’s forbidden to be around her at first, but he clings to her and her house anyway. And that unravels everything over the years. His relationship with her granddaughter, his cousin, Hagar is so frustrating. And it’s frustrating to be getting the view from him too. Because when he writes that note to her ending things, you see his logic which sucks but you read on like ok fine. Then Hagar reacts and is crushed and you’re like okay yea actually that was pretty fucked up.
And that’s basically Milkman’s internal journey. Something towards accountability. It’s his quest to the place his family is from, where his people weren’t buried right. He gets down there by himself and well into the trip he’s sitting in the woods because he can’t keep up with these older hunter guys he met earlier that day. In the middle of the deep dark woods thinking damn yea maybe I have been acting selfish. That’s where my favorite line in the book comes from: “Apparently he thought he deserved only to be loved–from a distance, though–and given what he wanted. And in returned he would be… what? Pleasant? Generous? Maybe all he was really saying was: I am not responsible for your pain; share your happiness with me but not your unhappiness” (Morrison 277).
Meanwhile, Hagar is at home straight suffering. He doesn’t love her. It’s true. And that’s embarrassing. That whole scene with her in bed refusing to get up then looking in the mirror and getting up to overspend and get cute and then on the way back it rains and things are falling out of her arms. Omg. That is the realest shit ever. She reminds me of Bessie from Native Son. I hated how Bigger treated her and talked to her in that room. Avoiding her questions and just dragging her along. Ugh.