"The Bluest Eye" was Morrison's first novel and it was positively reviewed when it was published in 1970. One of the things critics noticed was Morrison's unusual use of language, which is often dubbed "poetic prose"".John Leonard of The New York Times described the novel as containing "a prose so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry." However, others, such as New York Times Book Review contributor Haskel Frankel, described Morrison's prose not as poetic but as inexact, marred by "fuzziness born of flights of poetic imagery." Morrison herself was not happy with the way critics received her first novel. She she "wrote in the afterword to a 1993 edition of the novel, 'With very few exceptions, the initial publication of "The Bluest Eye" was like Pecola's life: dismissed, trivialized, misread."'
Since the publication of that book, Morrison has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her 1988 novel, "Beloved" and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Reviews written about the book today still concentrate on Morrison's writing style and how the novel depicts black "victimization" in this country.