Lula Ann’s mother is light-skinned, and so is her father. When she is born midnight black her mother can’t understand how it happened. Sweetness can’t convince her husband that she did not fool around with a black, very black man. He leaves after a few years. While Sweetness considers giving up the baby for adoption, or abandoning her, she can’t bring herself to do it. But she also can’t bring herself to love her child, the color of her skin turns her away. Lula Ann grows up without affection, her mother won’t touch her or even hold her hand in public, she is so ashamed of her black skin. Grown up now, changing her name to Bride, the young woman embraces her blackness and has succeeded in heading up a cosmetics firm. While financially successful, Bride has no close friends or a significant other until she meets Booker one night out dancing. For a while they are perfect until the day he tells her she is not the one for him and leaves without explanation. Thus begins Brides’ descent into despair.
Both Bride and Booker experienced childhood tragedies that they carry with them into their adult lives. Events they have never fully gotten over, which they keep trying to correct long after it is possible to do so. In some ways these events provide the impetus to push them forward along their career paths to success, especially Bride. Booker gets an education he can be proud of but wastes it looking for justice maybe, something he can never achieve. Morrison’s story is about the effects our actions can have on a child and is a cautionary tale.