Common Sense Media says

Brilliant but mature classic explores racism, gender, power.

Users say

(out of 16 reviews)
age 17+
Review this title!
Adult Written byslmillen@aol.com April 9, 2008

Beware of This Book!!

I'm very surprised and disappointed by the review by Common Sense Media (CSM), which is usually a very reliable and decent website. I was astonished when I read this review. Song of Solomon (which has NOTHING to do with the book in the Bible) contains the kind of graphic profanity, unnatural sex and other content that would only be appropriate for OVER-21. Disturbingly, it also projects a very unrealistic and unwholesome image of African Americans, as well as an overall "soap opera-ish" feel. Shame on CSM!
Adult Written byaprilmay April 9, 2008

Not "prurient" only "lascivious"

The commonsense.org review is a regurgitation from the extremely liberal NCTE rather than an application of common sense that you claim to provide. For example, your review says that the book contains "allusions to incest." Did the writer of this review not realize that the lead character, Milkman, gets his very nickname from his incestuous relationship to his mother while breastfeeding as a young boy? Or that he also has an ongoing sexual relationship with his cousin as a teenager? Also, some of what is said in this review doesn't make any sense at all, never mind COMMON SENSE. For example, exactly how should "older teen readers" be able to "move beyond" the new knowledge that (according to Toni Morrison's novels), blacks have regular sexual relationships with children, other members of their family, and even animals? Your review further states that the "human spirit soars, literally and metaphorically." Would this be in reference to the suicide at the beginning or end of the book? Futhermore, your review states that the sex is not "prurient." Yet the types of sex include: - Breast feeding a boy (not a baby, not a toddler) for pleasure - sex with dead people - oral sex - discussions of sexual relations between a daughter and father - descriptions of foreplay and undressing - teen sex at 16 with multiple partners - fantasies of sex between a mother and her son - sex with whores - sex between cousins - anal sex - oral sex between men - sex using objects forced into each other - discussions of sex with various animals and plants Many professional reviews of Morrison identify her work as "lascivious." "Lascivious" is a synonym for "prurient." Since when did even one description of deviant, perverted sex become "brilliant" literature for minors???
Adult Written byCJames April 9, 2008

Homeschool

This "book" is helping to solidify my families decision on whether to homeschool our second grade girl next year. We are such a debased culture now that this pornography is gleefully peddled to our teenagers. Why a woman would want to propagate stereotypes about her own race on so many levels I do not know! Why is there such an infatuation with suicide? I thought our teenagers needed hope and direction because the suicide rate is so high for them. I will be talking to my son's principal about this garbage and I pray that this school can actually find something of literary value to have the kids read next time!
Parent Written bySmrice August 7, 2015

Don't bother unless your child is required to read it.

I just finished reading this book. Our local school board voted to make it required reading for our students aged 14 and up. Currently this book will be used in our ap English literature class. This book has been approved by the college board and is therefore an easy select for teachers who do not want select their own reads and create their own syllabus. The college board makes no book recommendations nor does it have any required readings. A teacher may select any book and submit to the college board for their approval. It all just depends on how motivated the teacher is. On to the book. This is the most depressing book I have ever read. This book follows the lives of people who have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused by their own relatives. A father sexually abuses his daughter. This daughter sexually abuses her son. This son moves on to initially be sexually abused by his cousin, but later this relationship escalates into an on going sexual relationship that continues well into their adulthood. A wife is physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her own husband and this same man emotionally abuses his three children. The worst is that none of the victims in this book ever become survivors. They all remain deeply damaged and oppressed by the abuse they endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love them well, and they live accordingly, as hurt people, who hurt people. There is a section in this book that I found especially disturbing regarding the depiction of self abortion. I shudder to think that a student may take this information to heart and try one or more of the methods discribed in this text to rid themselves of an unplanned pregnancy and in the process severerly injure themselves. They could also pass this information onto a friend who finds themselves in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy. If your child is required to read this book, my suggestion to you would be to read it along with them. The adversities that are covered in this book that have no positive outcome or positive solutions to over come them are too many to name. Your child will need you to help them find positive solutions to these deeply tragic, but fully realistic tragedies of this life. Please do not let your child read this book on their own.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byKingLukeAtTHECastle December 27, 2011

TRIPPY!

I was one of the many English students in higher level classes who were subjected to this carnival of squick, racism and a handy dose of magical realism. Yes, magical realism. Opinions may differ on this trope, but I find it just confusing and a bit annoying, call me ignorant, uncultured, whatever, it just rubbed me the wrong way. DON'T....STOP. I WOULD SPIT ON THIS TRIPE!
Adult Written byCoffeeTable May 25, 2009

College

I read this book for College.... COLLEGE. This is not a book for teenagers of any kind unless they are quite mature. (And enjoy incredibly boring books)
Adult Written byBenjamin April 9, 2008

Not for kids

A good book but not or kids.
Teen, 16 years old Written bySarahbriley December 1, 2011

This is a great book.

This book is wonderful. Although it may be filled with sex, incest, drugs, and violence, it is filled with amazing literary qualities. I honestly don't understand why people are so outraged by this book; if you are not mature enough to look past the inappropriate qualities of this novel then don't read it. It's that simple.
Adult Written byBetsy Petersen April 9, 2008

Celebrates spiritual freedom

I’m surprised and disappointed by the August 1 reviews of this challenging but also beautiful and inspiring book. I don’t think subject matter alone should be the bottom line in determining whether a book is worth reading. The world itself is challenging; as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Such is the human condition: people want to love each other but they hurt each other instead. The greatest literature seeks to make sense of that truth in all its variety, encompassing the broad scope of our human struggle, including our sexuality. I’ve recently reread Victor Frankl’s harrowing but triumphant holocaust memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning; his bottom line is the one which ought to apply here. He writes, “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.” This spiritual freedom—the one freedom, Frankl writes, that cannot be taken away—is the true subject matter of Toni Morrison’s wonderful novel.
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
Grandparent Written byPamelaC 2 June 26, 2016

Keeping the blacks down

A agree with one of the other reviews, it's a soap opera. Tired of the racist talk about past treatment. It's time for healing and to heal you HAVE to move forward and stop living as the victim. This book perpetuates this entitlement mentality. Is love to read books on the positive treatment of many of the African Americans during that time.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written bycommon reviewer December 16, 2009

Cures Vanity

I think you are ridiculous if you are going to homeschool your child due to this book. Have you lived in the real world? Please, let's not be naieve. I think we can all agree that the themes in Morrison's book are shown in our day to day lives as Americans. Racisim, divorce, murder, feeling dead inside; all experienced, everyday. Morrison's novel is truly a work of beauty. In every symbolic word she writes, I am even more mesmerized how someone can create this. I perfect scene of symbolisim used at it's finest is when Milkman and Guitar are talking about the "white" peacock that cannot fly. Milkman says to Guitar, "Too much tail. All that jewlery weighs it down. Like vanity. Can't nobody fly with all that sh**. Wanna fly, you got to give up that sh** that weighs you down." I hope that makes a little easier to decide whether or not your kids should read this genuine novel. Would you like for your children to be vain? Would you like for them to be judgemental? Or dead inside? I'm sure your answers no. And I can say, that although I'm still only in high school, this book throughly changed my way of thinking.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCSM Screen name... April 9, 2008
Teen, 17 years old Written byGiz_riod April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008