I’ve posted my reading list for the year and I’m ready to go. This month I’m re-reading a book I read last year – Toni Morrison’s Home. I pulled this one because the tale revolves around a protagonist’s begrudging but obligatory return to the Georgia hometown he wanted to escape by entering the Korean war. I relate it to the many times I’ve had to return home after my travels came to an end. But it’s more than that now. Now I’m missing home in a way that I’ve never known.
I feel that the protagonist’s story, Frank Money’s story, could be my own granddad’s memory. Money’s old haunts could be the blueprint of my father’s hometown. His independent lover’s desire to own her own home could be my aunt’s battle to buy property on the white side of town. His sojourn to combat overseas could’ve been that of any one of the black men in my family that joined up in order to get out. I grew up far removed from those stories on the West Coast and still, reading Toni Morrison is like reading my family and going home all at the same time.
Read Home of you’re afraid to go home. Morrison has a way of making the surreal and ghostly fit seamlessly into everyday life. Ghosts are normal. Haints teach you stuff. Far beyond the battles of black versus white, Home has a story to tell that reaches beyond racial lines and into our roots. As Americans we (predominantly) all came from somewhere else. As Americans, we all escaped from somewhere else. Home makes us ask from what and why? What brings us back home time and again? What makes us stay?