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Salvage the Bones
     

Salvage the Bones

3.7 73
by Jesmyn Ward
 

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Winner of the 2011 National Book Award

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

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Salvage the Bones 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
jm248 More than 1 year ago
The writing is well done - no equivocations there.  Jesmyn Ward is masterful in her storytelling.   BUT, if you, like me, cannot stomach stories in which bad things happen to dogs, do not read this book.  Aside from the dog fighting, if I never hear another story about the dogs that people failed to adequately care for during Katrina, I'd be glad for it.  Maybe it's the state of the world, but I prefer my fiction without sad and mistreated dogs.      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wrote a longer review for this book on my nook before accidently clicking away from the screen and losing it, so I'm not going to re-write the long review this book truly deserves. Instead, to keep it short and sweet, I'll just say this book is beautiful, the characters exceptional, the plot tense but slow enough to savor, and the climax equal parts distressing and hopeful. I finished this book several days ago (read it in one sitting) and it has still stuck with me so do yourself a favor and read this book.
SecretK More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Not to be cliche, but this author has a way with words and has a very poetic style. She provides great imagery and descriptions where other authors would have taken an easier route to say "the sky was blue". This is what separates her book from a piece of fiction and makes hers a piece of fiction literature. How she tells the story is great, but the story she tells is even greater. I fell in love with and felt empathetic for the characters in the story. Although we only spent 12 days with them, what we learned about them and their struggles, their victories, and how they constantly overcome defeat, covered more than 12 days. I liked how the author gave each character equal time in the light. Even China and her puppies were well developed characters and I felt they were significant to the plot. What I thought about most when reading this story was that these chracters were very young, all still teens, yet they were acting like adults and taking on adult roles because they had to. Yes, they were making some bad choices along the way but who was there to guide them to make better ones? Although they were good at protecting Jr they didn't understand him and thought he was being weird or boisterous when in fact he was being a normal young kid. Sadly, many kids today are in similar situations. Kids raising kids because while the parents are physically there they are still absent. Finally, I know all too well the aftermath of Katrina. The descriptions were very realistic. The author was spot on with this one. I look forward to future work from Ms. Ward.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
There is a moment in the beginning of this book when I want to put the book down (the birthing of puppies). There is a point in the middle when I breathe raggedly, as though from a gut punch (Ward’s description of the dog fight). And there are long stretches at the end of this book when I cannot take my horrified eyes from the page, when I feel my insides crumbling and my heart breaking and my memories reeling and I know I have read something extraordinary. Jesmyn Ward just gives us words, but words like none other has written. She has put them together in a way that creates a world apart but with all the love, pain, pathos, hope, fear, and loyalty that we will recognize from the finest examples of our literature. When she describes the color and texture of a man’s arm, or the watery pressure of a new pregnancy, or the terror of discovering rising water through the floorboards of one’s living room, Jesmyn Ward has caught that thing as though it were alive. When I try to say in a few words the story of this novel, everything I write is inadequate. A poor family lives outside a town but near the coast in Mississippi. Our narrator is fourteen with hair that frames her head “like a pillow.” She has three brothers, a father that drinks too much, and several paramours but one in particular. Katrina hits and we experience the storm. This is classic literature, and, difficult as it may seem at first, wholly appropriate for teens. It is a little like saying A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah is a teen title. That book, about a teen forced into soldiering in Sierra Leone, is similarly hard-hitting. It might be better for our teens to know than not to know. They are exposed to so much anyway--a little reality might improve their outlook. I wouldn't "require" this novel, but I would add it to reading lists. Teens can do much worse than experience the exquisite sense of language in this wholly original work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book must have been about a book report because 98% of the so called reviews read like school book reports. Bn, when are you ever going to do something to these ppl that constantly ruin books for other readers by revealing every detail of the book? It is rude and inconsiderate. They should be fined, and banned and their posts deleted.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
'Salvage the Bones' is Somber Following Hurricane Katrina, a slew of books about it came out in quick succession over the course of a year or two. It was a “popular” topic and I avoided every single one. I try not to read books that are written by authors who are attempting to capitalize on a catastrophic event while the event is still unfolding. There’s a big difference between historical fiction and riding that wave. So, even though it’s 8 years later, I was hesitant to read this book. I’m not sure where I first saw it, but it had a good review and one of the things that jumped out at me what that the reviewer went out of their way to say that while this was a book that took place during Hurricane Katrina, the hurricane is a backdrop and in no way dictates the story. Basically, it could have been any number of hurricanes or rainstorms down in the bayou, and that the author was not attempting to profit from a sensational story about tragedy. Let me just say that I flew through this book and the writer of that review (thanks to whoever you are) was entirely correct. Hurricane Katrina set the tone for the book, but did not propel the story on its own. Instead, the book takes place over 12 days, with each chapter representing a day and beginning the day Hurricane Katrina formed while ending after she makes landfall.The story itself is about the Batiste family, who live in fictional Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. Poor and living in the Pit, Esche and her three brothers struggle with day to day life 9 years after the death of their mother. While Esche is coming to terms with her own personal problems, her brother Skeetah is trying to take care of the new puppies his prized fighter pit bull, China, gave birth to. Meanwhile, Randall is trying to win a scholarship to basketball camp and Junior, the baby of the family, is just trying to keep up and not be left behind. I love that the author gives the reader a glimpse into the daily lives of a poverty-stricken family without evoking pity. Instead, their financial situation is simply a way of life and not something that they focus on or complain about. I must point out that dogfighting is a big part of this book and that Chapter 8 was some of the most intense and difficult reading I have ever read (they also eat a shark, which I’m sure bothers me more than most people because I’m a huge shark conservationist). Despite these difficulties, it is a great book. It’s not a sunshine and rainbows book, but I think it has widespread appeal. The writing style, which is similar to Precious, Room, and The Help, is not one I typically enjoy. In fact, I haven’t read any of the books I just mentioned because I can’t get through the first chapter. BUT, I was able to get through this one with flying colors and I think it’s a great read for anyone who is interested in the the region.
gcdowell More than 1 year ago
The best book I have read in years, and among my top 5 ever.  (For your reference, I would include the following in my top 5 (not necessarily in order) so you can judge hether my tastes are similar to yours:   A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving;  ; The Things They Carried by O'Brien; Watership Down by Richard Adams; Pretty much anything by Faulkner.
slippery72 More than 1 year ago
Having been to New Orleans to work on Hurricane Katrina's devastating damage, I was drawn to this book. I wasn't sure at first that I really liked the slow moving style of the book. However, it did mirror the travel of a hurricane! And after I finished, I did basically like the book as it really showed how many people in that area just truly did not think the destruction would be so massive. The author really showed the life of this dysfunctional family, but how they were drawn together during this time. What I did not like was all the descriptive language in the book....the similes and metaphors were TOTALLY overdone and there were many times I wanted to ditch the book and not finish it. However, I AM glad I stuck it out...just reader beware...found myself at times just skimming these sections!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't remember how i heard about this book but i am a different person because of it. Please, read this book with an open heart. The first person narration was a brilliant decision by the author. It took me into the narrators world where i lived for the duration of the novel. The narrator is an innocent but obviously intelligent child. Another reviewer called her promiscuous. Open your heart and mind and see life thru this child's eyes.
PoppyWade More than 1 year ago
A lullaby. It's horrifying in a dreamlike way that haunts and chills. I'm almost angry at Jesmyn for setting the bar so high, now that every other book feels flat and lame. Excellent, excellent, excellent.
CynKinGA More than 1 year ago
This story is about a motherless girl and her family in the days before and during Hurricane Katrina. They are struggling in with the poverty that surrounds them in the rural area they live in. But while they have come to accept the conditions that they live in, they maintain a normal kind of life and don't seem to think about the future and how they will overcome the station in life where they are. The story centers on Esch, a fourteen year old girl in love with her older brother's friend and who has discovered her life is about to change dramatically. It also focuses on her brother who is obsessed with his Pit bull, China. He dreams of a future when he will sell China's puppies for profit. Their dad has struggled following the death of the mother with her loss and had escaped into alcohol. As he starts to prepare for the coming storm, a tragedy occurs, which will affect the ability of the family to survive. The book was well written and difficult to put down as you the reader get caught up in the storm that is both within the family and the one that is headed for them.
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RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
You really just need to pick up Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.  I could just end my review right there. But I guess I won't.  I'll tell you a little more. Over the course of twelve days, you learn about a poor family in Mississippi, before, during, and after a large hurricane sweeps through town.  You may have heard of this hurricane.  It's Katrina. Esch's father is very concerned about the hurricane, but he doesn't stay sober enough to make sure all of the plans go through properly.  Esch hasn't been feeling well, and has an inkling of why her stomach seems to be growing.  Her brother Skeetah is consumed with his fighting dog and her puppies.  Esch's brothers Randall and Junior don't really seem to have specific places where they fit in. As the days loom closer to the hurricane's arrival, as a reader, I was nervous for them!  I kept thinking: how can they be experiencing daily life when they need to be so much more prepared?  But Esch's family had no way of knowing what would happen. . . and what would happen to them. What kind of natural disasters do you have where you live? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
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This novel is a deeply disturbing book about a poor black family in lower Mississippi, facing the tribulations of life and preparing for a dangerous threat that could end all their lives. The main character’s lives run parallel to each other. Esch is a fourteen year old girl that is forced to live in poverty while raising her younger brother due to her neglecting, drunk father. She is also very promisqueous and is eventually impregnated by a guy that is not only older than her, but also has no romantic feelings for her. She believes he will develop them but this time never comes. The other main character is China, a white pit bull that Esch's brother, Skeetah, raises like his own child even though he is training her to be a ferocious fighting dog. However, China has puppies early in the book and throughout the novel she struggles to get well. Skeetah goes through many hardships to help his dog. This shows that he really cares for the animal. During all of this, the threat of hurricane Katrina is a constant threat that is hinted at throughout the story. Even though the book shows deep feeling and family values, the constant over exagerration of detail and harsh topics is to much for my taste. From dog fighting, a terrible act in of itself, to a fourteen year old having sex constantly, this book shows a hundred bad examples for children to idolize. Throughout the book, the characters show no remorse for their actions and even pick fun at the topics. The fact that the severe issues in this novel are not only stated straight out but are the main focus of the book and are expressed in vivid detail is a sore miscalculation by the author. The ever present danger of Katrina is far understated and the finale of the storm is so insignificant that being affected by it is rather difficult. If the author can express in such clear detail dog fights and sex, then why can she not express the horror of a major storm that wiped out the lower part of a country. In comparison to many other novels, this one falls short in it's eagerness to be different and it's overexaggeration of details that truly do not matter. The true emphasis is misplaced and is under appreciated by the author and is not a reccomended book for those that want a morally sound book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was dreadful. I was reading it robotically trying to finish for my book club. On page 134 I gave up. The book is only 200 pages and I hadn't yet gotten to the point.