george saunders

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The Bluest Eye

By Toni Morrison

I first read this book when our daughters were babies, and something about the combination of that first flash of vulnerability-drenched love I was feeling for them ("This could be lost? They could be hurt?") and the book's depiction of Pecola Breedlove (so vulnerable, so victimized), who aspires to have blue eyes and thus become "beautiful," tore me up, and reawakened something in me that had been dormant since a handful of intense childhood Catholic mystical experiences: the realization that developing our sympathetic compassion is not only possible but the only reason for us to be here on earth.