Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2019
Beneath the trouble, lies a very powerful and poignant tale about race and class, ambition, and more. RED AT THE BONE is destined to become a classic

The thing with 'classic' literature is that it is typically polarizing; that is, not everyone is going to love it, there will be themes that make readers squirm, that make us uncomfortable. Classic literature does that. That's exactly what we'll find in this bestseller from Jacqueline Woodson, RED AT THE BONE (September 17 2019).

Told in a forward-and-backward momentum, Woodson tells the story of two African American families from different social classes who come together because of a teen pregnancy and the child it produces. We begin with a sixteen-year-old's coming-of-age party in somewhat contemporary (2001) times. Melody is that baby from sixteen years ago, when her mother was an unmarried pregnant teen. Adoring relatives look on, but what we don't know is the pain each of them has carried.

Unfurling through time, we 'meet' Melody's parents and grandparent's their hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets all come to life, touching on themes of ambition, education, sexual desire, class, race, status, and more. Ultimately, we get the POV of six characters: Melody, her (teen) mother Iris, (teen) father Aubrey, CathyMarie (Aubrey's mother), and Po'Boy and Sabre (maternal grandparents). BUT--what's bit confusing is, at first, we don't know who any of these characters are, their stories and voices tend to run together, without any delineation as to who's who.

Once I got beyond this, character arcs seemed to materialize and I became wholly engaged in the story. Woodson writes with a sparse but lush and poetic hand, her details are spot-on, the way her eye sees the world is so psychologically and aesthetically astute.

RED AT THE BONE is a story that will stay with me for a long time--not so much in terms of plot, but in the sense of imagery and how it made me feel.

I found some similarities between RED AT THE BONE and Jody Piccoult's SMALL GREAT THINGS meets Pamela Erens' ELEVEN HOURS with a touch of Tayari Jones's AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE.

L.Lindsay|Always with a Book
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4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and Lyrical with Many Themes for Discussion
By Leslie Lindsay on November 2, 2019
Beneath the trouble, lies a very powerful and poignant tale about race and class, ambition, and more. RED AT THE BONE is destined to become a classic

The thing with 'classic' literature is that it is typically polarizing; that is, not everyone is going to love it, there will be themes that make readers squirm, that make us uncomfortable. Classic literature does that. That's exactly what we'll find in this bestseller from Jacqueline Woodson, RED AT THE BONE (September 17 2019).

Told in a forward-and-backward momentum, Woodson tells the story of two African American families from different social classes who come together because of a teen pregnancy and the child it produces. We begin with a sixteen-year-old's coming-of-age party in somewhat contemporary (2001) times. Melody is that baby from sixteen years ago, when her mother was an unmarried pregnant teen. Adoring relatives look on, but what we don't know is the pain each of them has carried.

Unfurling through time, we 'meet' Melody's parents and grandparent's their hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets all come to life, touching on themes of ambition, education, sexual desire, class, race, status, and more. Ultimately, we get the POV of six characters: Melody, her (teen) mother Iris, (teen) father Aubrey, CathyMarie (Aubrey's mother), and Po'Boy and Sabre (maternal grandparents). BUT--what's bit confusing is, at first, we don't know who any of these characters are, their stories and voices tend to run together, without any delineation as to who's who.

Once I got beyond this, character arcs seemed to materialize and I became wholly engaged in the story. Woodson writes with a sparse but lush and poetic hand, her details are spot-on, the way her eye sees the world is so psychologically and aesthetically astute.

RED AT THE BONE is a story that will stay with me for a long time--not so much in terms of plot, but in the sense of imagery and how it made me feel.

I found some similarities between RED AT THE BONE and Jody Piccoult's SMALL GREAT THINGS meets Pamela Erens' ELEVEN HOURS with a touch of Tayari Jones's AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE.

L.Lindsay|Always with a Book
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