I was actually very disappointed in this highly tauted book. I thought "Beloved" was wonderful, but found this one pretty dry and boring, sorry.
Sigh. Oh, where shall we begin?
SULA is the title character, yet she is not a focal character until you're halfway through the book; which speaks volumes. And when it does finally focus on her, it's only to reveal a vacuous and pointless character living in a vacuous and pointless town called Medallion, Ohio. In fact, it would've made more sense for the title to be MEDALLION or something, because it was more about the collective population of this mountain-based town than it was about SULA, dual meanings of the name notwithstanding.
For such a short book, the narrative managed to ramble and give irrelevant information about irrelevant people in Medallion, i.e., Shadrack the vet and his annual Suicide Day...just useless town folklore.
And then. The focal characters like Eva, Helene, Sula and Nel, proceed to engage in the most contrived, distasteful things imaginable. Fire. Drowning. Whoring. Betrayal. Constipated babies. (Gross! Seriously. Did we really need such distasteful visuals on that, not once, but TWICE?!) Yet there is no redemption for anyone.
And symbolism? If it's here...why should the reader even care? These people make you feel you need a shower...LOL
I cannot fathom that this pretentious narrative is actually taught in academic curriculums! This is the second Toni Morrison novel I've read, after THE BLUEST EYE, and I do not enjoy her writing style - it feels less like stellar prose and more like artificial and overindulgent writing.
I know many enjoy it, but I found nothing even remotely enjoyable here. This one gets an F from me. A major fail.
Overall, Sula was a very dark story. It seemed like the people in the town were so interconnected that they were affected by everyone else's decisions. It also seemed like there were cycles in the generations of townspeople that really couldn't be broken unless townspeople moved away and stayed away.