United States

Toni Morrison's works spoke to a generation of us

(CNN)As a little black girl who didn't always want to be black, Toni Morrison at once understood me and shamed me.Like many girls before and after me, I would place a towel on my head, pretending it was the long flowing, straight hair I saw on white women in TV and movies.That hair was bouncier, and in my estimation at the time, prettier than my kinks. I wished my nose was thinner and straighter and -- as I came into my adolescence -- my body less curvy.It was as a young teen that I first read "The Bluest Eye," the story of Pecola, a poor black girl who longed for blue eyes.The book felt like a gut-punch to my younger self.It is a work that tackles racism, self-loathing, poverty and sexual abuse in such beautiful prose that I have returned ...