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Parent reviews for Beloved

Common Sense says

Haunting Pulitzer Prize winner about slavery's impact.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 10 reviews
Adult Written bywinfall April 9, 2008

Pure Trash

This book contains incest, rape, pedophilia, graphic sex, extreme violence, sexual abuse, physical/emotional abuse, infanticide, and an extensive amount of profanity including lots of the F word. The scenes, ideas and thoughts are definitely for ADULTS. I presume the CSM reviewer called it "haunting" because it contains a ghost (who has lots of sex with her mother's boyfriend). There are so many good books available for kids, why read this trash?
Parent of a 17 year old Written byvaluegal April 11, 2011

only adults who know what they are getting into

This book gave me nightmares. the language is offensive and the theme is wrenching. If the bestiality and the infanticide are not enough how about forced oral sex in prison. What does it take to be to offensive?

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Adult Written byhonestinput April 9, 2008

No one should read this book.

A family friendly site shouldn't even consider a book of this nature. It contains beastiality, graphic nudity (could be considered pornography) and many sexual deviances. Prolific profanity throughout. Do not pollute your mind with this garbage when there is so much good content out there for you to consume.
Adult Written bygreta-elisif February 21, 2009

Not Appropriate for Anyone

I agree with the reviewer with the user name “honestinput.” While I haven’t read the whole book, I’ve read enough to know it is absolute filth. Furthermore, if people want to know what slavery is and was like, they should read unbiased, historically-accurate accounts, from original sources and wholesome textbooks. Not only should no child read this (the thought of one doing so makes me ill), nobody at ALL should read it. The youngest age this title is relevant is actually infinite, and how bad it is is actually zero stars’ worth. Please read actual, classic literature instead.
Adult Written bypaigeturner89 April 9, 2008

Dark, but Deep

This is one of the most incredible books I have ever read. It was voted the best peice of literature written in the 20th century by New York Time writers. Toni Morrison is not conservative in her depiction of this based-on-true-circumstances story (obviously, there were no haunting incidents). Teens, when mature enough need to be able to examine works such as these. The difference between this book and other violent and sexual media, is that Morrison uses the negotiable content as a means of painting her vivid historical picture, not as an end in itself.
Adult Written by4concernedparents September 24, 2014


Multiple mentions of people interacting sexually with cows.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Adult Written bytesslar May 2, 2015

Agenda Driven

There are books which use profanity and extreme situations to drive a point home. Then there are the books which rely on the repeated use of these type of situations to drive an agenda. Clearly slavery is indefensible. However, so is using a hot button issue like slavery to subtly (or not so subtly) push other agendas which would not stand unchallenged on their own. This book does so. It is anti-slavery and shows well the horrors of that institution. It also paints a picture where situations that were in reality rare, sure they happened (just as such things do today), are presented as almost commonplace. Even adults are not immune to the subconscious effects of exposure to this type of 'reality based' repetition. The novel is based on a story the author read but only based as far as that story being about the runaway slave woman, about to be recaptured, trying to kill her children who were with her to protect them from a life of slavery. The author, in an interview in the NY Times says that the book is not about slavery. What then is it about? Why, given that is the case, is almost any justification I have seen for it's being required reading tied to it's depiction of slavery? This book is not lacking in the author's ability as a writer and storyteller but it is a book that needs deeper analysis than it receives at the grade levels it is required to be read. The danger is not in exposing young adults to the fact that the situations contained inside exist. Rather it is in ensuring their ability to understand these incidents as rare and to understand how authors mix fact, fiction and strong emotion to elicit a response beyond intellectual understanding of a subject. This book would fit well into a curriculum centered around teaching teens how to filter the media content that they face across the spectrum of viewpoints and delivery channels they are exposed to continuously. In that environment this would be an excellent book to analyze for how it approaches accomplishing it's objective of getting the reader to accept a certain view of the world.
Adult Written byChristee April 9, 2008
Adult Written byalpha1014 March 26, 2015

Excellent book paints accurate and emotional portrayal of history

This is a great book for anyone to read. Based on my child I would say 14/15 and up, but it is a know-your-child sort of situation. Some children may not be mature enough to read something like this at that age. This is a difficult, heavy read. Incest, rape, torture, murder, as well as adult emotional themes are included. As said in the title, this book is historically accurate of that era - this is what people, specifically African Americans, went through during that time. We should not censor our children from the pain of the past. It is important for them to know what life was like, and what the true harm of slavery really is. I would recommend reading this with your child and discussing it in a book club setting. It is easy for a younger teen, or even an adult, to miss some of the crucial themes (motherhood, redemption, etc.).

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 2 year old Written by2smart February 9, 2010

best 20th century novel

As a 17 yr old I love the book Beloved. I saw the movie when i was in elementary and I loved it because it was a tear jerker of how blacks treated one another, how they were being treated from others and ultimately the hard-knock life they have always and will always have. I think this movie is age appropriate for any teen. The parents could try to "protect" or "forbid", but theres a chance that their kid has seen worst in movies, especially action movies. If you want your kid to be intelligent and open minded then they should reaf the book. It's only words...

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Educational Value
Positive Messages
Parent of an infant and 4 year old Written byTerreece Clarke April 9, 2008

A Classic...

Yes it contains intense scenes and emotion. Slavery was intense and inhumane and all together crap. Often it is glossed over with sweeping mansions and magnolias. Our children are left with a sense that slavery was just mean. The book is a good read for older teens who can discuss the layers of the book. Toni Morrison is one of the prolific writers of our time.
Adult Written byewha16 April 9, 2008

one of the best books i've ever read

i thought it was beautiful. intense, yes, but it's an integral part of the story. we say, kids shouldn't be exposed to such strong violence, etc, but in my opinion, that's the very reason WHY sethe did what she did. so her children would't have to experience what she did. and they would have experienced it in real true life, not by reading it off a page in the comfort of a safe, secure living room. i was sixteen when i read this book a year ago, and what i remember of it was a poignant story of family relationships and coming of age.
Adult Written byseventeen April 9, 2008
Adult Written byquicknshiny April 9, 2008
Adult Written byAnkit m. October 19, 2017

A must read

For all those people who all are saying that this is a total trash, has grotesque imagery, too much sex,too much violence, pedophile, incest etc etc ...... They all should know that all these thing exist in our society. People like this and things like this exist in our society. They are everywhere,everytime, you just cant ignore and escape from this. The novel starts from a reference to "60 millions and more" all those African slaves who lost their life due to the Atlantic slave trade. It's easy to just say that they 'lost' their life. The condition,the mental and physical torture, the sexual violence, children weren't familiar with the term family, for them there was no family. The condition of women and how they were just used to produce slaves and were raped time and time again from their slave master and what not. How can someone justify this? Toni Morrison, wrote this masterpiece to show the condition of the slaves and the after affect. A post modern novel shows that the loss and the slavery is not over. Though the physical slavery is over but what about the mental slavery? what about the nightmares? All these things are something which someone can't change. A sense of loss, a loss which someone can never overcome. Through Magical realism, Morssion write this piece and says this story should be talked about and remembered but never to pass on. This should not be passed on...

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent Written byngeorgianow September 27, 2018

What in the WORLD???????!!!!!!!!

THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR TEENS. THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR TEENS. This book should be for adults. Yes, it is well written (in some parts). Yes, it has a compelling story. But you don't EXPECT kids (TEENS ARE STILL CHILDREN) to deal with or fully understand ADULT issues. This books is like adult issues central. There is no compelling reason, lesson that needs to be learned as a young person, literary device, nothing. The school libraries of the world will be fine without this book. Not having an inappropriate book in a school setting is NOT CENSORSHIP, it is called making appropriate choices for young people who are NOT ADULTS YET. We ALLLLL have more time to be adults than to be kids. Let them have their time. There are LOTS of other things to read.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byThomspoon April 11, 2019


Winning a Nobel prize in literature you would assume this novel would have a sense of personality , and you would be right. In fact the only thing I could praise about this text is it’s fearless personality, Toni Morrison clearly put a lot of emotion into it and it shows. When it comes down to the actual writing however, I find it to be a convoluted mess that reaches out for extraneous symbols and ideas where they don’t belong. Yes the message is powerful, yes it’s characters are realistic, but no, it doesn’t deserve the praise it gets. By the halfway point it became more of a chore to read rather than something I actually enjoyed. If you can read more than 10 pages of Toni Morrison’s Beloved without getting a headache, I salute you.