Goodreads Review: Beloved by Toni Morrison

Three star review, originally posted here on December 21, 2020 during a mass-review of pandemic audiobooks.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m catching up on months worth of Audiobook reviews, so writing this quickly.]

Don’t do this one as an audiobook.

I can tell I definitely would have liked this better if I’d actually read it. Morrison does her own narration, and it’s always nice to hear a book in the author’s true voice. That being said, the narration was a bit slow and dramatic, which soothed me effectively that I kept zoning right out. This story is of course VERY weird, which means that if you zone out and then zone back in, it’s tough to tell what’s going on at times. Considering how the story is slowly told and retold through onion layers of memories, you really can’t afford a zone-out. Am I lost because we haven’t explained yet? Or am I lost because they just explained and I zoned out? Who knows!

For the vast majority of the book, I was shaking my head and exclaiming “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON.” Yes, part of that confusion is cuz of my audiobook zoning. But I’m confident that probably 50% of it is also because of the book itself. Finally, at one people I was like “Ok, clearly there’s been some sort of giant revelation that went over my head” and I went and looked up a plot synopsis. Suddenly EVERYTHING from that point forward made complete sense. And I could enjoy the story (or what remained of it). I don’t think I would have gotten there even in non-audiobook form.

So… modern classic, absolutely beautifully written, interesting story if you can follow it, unique historical setting I haven’t experienced in other books. Those are all pros. And I’m guessing they would have resulted in a 4 star review if I hadn’t done the audiobook. But I did do the audiobook. And it kinda ruined some things. So 3 stars it is.

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