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Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
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Salvage the Bones: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Jesmyn Ward

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1,172996,889 (3.86)254
Member:WarmCavesInTheWoods
Title:Salvage the Bones: A Novel
Authors:Jesmyn Ward
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (2011)

  1. 10
    Wading Home: A Novel of New Orleans by Rosalyn Story (Citizenjoyce)
    Citizenjoyce: Another look at continuing racism as exposed by Katrina and its aftermath.
  2. 10
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (LottaBerling)
  3. 00
    Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward (zapzap)
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Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is a powerful story about a poor Mississippi black family living in Bayou country as Hurricane Katrina gathers itself to strike. The main character is fourteen year old teenager Esch, who lives in a rundown shack on a piece of property they call The Pit. Esch lives with her three brothers and her father, their mother died seven years ago giving birth to the youngest son. The father works at odd jobs and nurses his anger with alcohol. The children are close, but have been left to raise themselves. Esch has a secret, she is pregnant. The father is one of her brother’s friends, Manny, whom she thinks she loves. But Manny is simply using her and really wants nothing to do with her. Alone, fearful and afraid to let her family know she is pregnant, she tries to hide it.

Another important element to the story is China, a white pit bull that one of her brothers has raised, loves and uses in dogfights. A word of warning, if the idea of dogfights and cruelty to animals upsets you, than this is probably not a story that you should read. I found that the story was told so realistically and openly that judgments really had no place. This is their life.

Meanwhile Katrina is lurking on the horizon, and although we know with hindsight how life changing this storm was, the vivid description was mesmerizing. Salvage the Bones is a big-hearted story about family that is told in almost musical prose. The author’s vision and passion delivers a magical story of love and caring that no amount of poverty change erase. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 17, 2017 |
I loved the narrator, the story was great and suspenseful.... Too much heart break for me. I am reminded that I lead a very sheltered comfortable life! ( )
  LASMIT | Dec 31, 2016 |
A moving and interesting story. I will be interested in reading this writer as she matures - I thought the writing had a lot of wonderful elements, but there were at least three similes per page which got very tiring, very quickly.

I think this would be a great book for middle schoolers to learn about katrina. And also similes. Although the teen pregnancy and dog fighting might keep it off many teacher's shelves ( )
  abbeyhar | Nov 8, 2016 |
This is a great novel, the best I've read so far this year. I wasn't hooked immediately; the novel is told from Esch's point of view and it took me a while to settle into her voice. Once I did, though, it made for a really compelling read. The chapter that describes Hurricane Katrina is one of the finest pieces of writing I've read in some time; it's haunting, and lovely, and perfect. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
This book was brutally honest, raw and emotional. Ward expertly created an atmosphere wherein I felt like I was literally in the backwoods of Mississippi with these characters. The characters were well drawn and three-dimensional from the start and although their circumstances were desperate, Ward created a story that did not elicit pity so much as empathy. This is not a trite, re-tread of the coming of age novel but is an elbow deep exploration into the lives of these characters over a twelve day period leading up to and after Hurricane Katrina. It is original and in many ways defies categorization but was a profound, moving read. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
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Epigraph
See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me; I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any can deliver out of my hand. -Deuteronomy 32:39

For though I'm small, I know many things, and my body is an endless eye through which, unfortunately, I see everything. -Gloria Fuertes, "Now"

We on our backs staring at the stars about, talking about what we going to be when we grow up, I said what you wanna be? She said, "Alive." -Outkast, "Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 1)," Aquemini
Dedication
For my brother, Joshua Adam Dedeaux,

who leads while I follow.
First words
China's turned on herself.
Quotations
"To give life...is to know what's worth fighting for. And what's love."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
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Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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