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The Whiteness of Bones

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  220 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In her ravishing and moving second novel, the bestselling author of In the Cut tells the story of Mamie Clarke, who sets out to lose herself in New York City.

Having only previously known the fragile, magical world of her childhood on the lush Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, Mamie leaves college to visit her sophisticated aunt in New York. With her beautiful and self-destructive
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by Vintage (first published 1989)
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Judi
Aug 16, 2012 Judi rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-1998
I am haunted by this book --- by one of the last scenes in particular, and of course, I can not divulge more.

In this story, Mamie Clarke is trying to understand her place in the world, basically as defined by the physiognomy of the female body. While a child living at the family home in Hawaii a devoted household employee touches her "down there." She reports it to her father and faces the consequences ever after. Just as she is about to finish college, Mamie flees to New York to visit Aunt Ali
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Anne Sanow
Nov 07, 2009 Anne Sanow rated it it was amazing
How could I have never rated this one before? It's one of my favorite coming-of-age novels, and one that, despite its imperfections, is nearly impossible to get out of my head. (For one thing, it contains one of my favorite and most pitch-perfect lines of dialogue ever uttered by a character. Mamie's aunt Alysse on fashion: "Do underdress; it makes other women look older and vulgar.") Perhaps this one persists for me because I so admire the way that Moore doesn't adhere to the expected and wande ...more
Rachelle Bowden
Jan 04, 2010 Rachelle Bowden rated it did not like it
I thought I’d really like this book about two sisters, Mamie & Claire, who grew up on the west side of Kauai and moved to New York City, but I didn’t really. It was ok, not great. I only finished it to finish it and there were some brutal scenes near the end that made me wish I’d just put it down. I thought I’d like seeing New York through their eyes, but it was a pretty bizarro New York. I did like the scenes describing Waimea town and Koke’e and the Waimea River and other things on Kauai, ...more
Fredsky
Sep 08, 2008 Fredsky rated it liked it
My rating is 3.65 for this book. It is difficult to separate this from Sleeping Beauties and My Old Sweetheart; together I give them a 3.75 and might read them again with a family tree handy. Moore's childhood, for all its complications, sounds idyllic. Then she left. Then she wrote these books... and then she was possibly bitten by a vampire and wrote In The Cut. She has said that she always writes about what it means to be a woman. Any remarks about this writer's development would be welcome.
Bethyfly
Sep 14, 2011 Bethyfly rated it it was ok
After snatching this up years ago at a yard sale I was excited to actually begin. It was one of those books I wanted to like. But after a start that had me thoroughly engaged I was pretty disappointed by the brutal imagery and seemingly apathetic protagonist. There were a few bright spots of thoughtfulness for me towards the end but they didn't seem transformative enough to make up for the rest.

I couldn't see anyone I would recommend this book too and after the cover and some pages were damaged
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Robin
May 23, 2015 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coast-to-coast
Interesting and introspective book. I'm glad it ended the way it did, but not how it got there.
Christina
Oct 27, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an extremely well-written book. It does everything a coming-of-age novel should, and it's beautiful. It tackles the difficult understandings of sex and transforms them into a journey though a young woman's mind as she comes to understand life and herself in it. Excellent.

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Edit: I re-read this again in March of 2009 for book club, and it absolutely held up to the test of time. It got better, in fact, with the second read. This book is so rich that I have no doubt re-reads for years w
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MSJLibrary
Oct 05, 2013 MSJLibrary rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-with-poj
The Whiteness of Bones by Susan Moore (1989, 277 pages). Moore’s novel is an intense look at the lives of two sisters, Mamie and Claire. Having grown up in rural Hawaii, the two sisters move to Manhattan after college. While Claire, the carefree younger sister, thrives there, Mamie, the more sensible and cautious of the pair, discovers quickly how naïve she has been and how cruel the real world can be. Mamie is a character of great depth, and the reader is quickly caught up in her struggle to as ...more
Kelly
Jul 06, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Whiteness of Bones was one of those almost really good books that are sometimes more frustrating than books that aren't good at all. It's the story of two sisters who grow up in Haiwaii and later move to New York City in the 1980s and fall in with the high society crowd. The story of their Hawaiian childhood is wonderful and unique, but only lasts for about a third of the book. That is the story that the author should have stuck with.
Truthmonkey
Dec 12, 2008 Truthmonkey rated it liked it
It wasn't very interesting to start with, but there were some good and witty parts later in the book that saved it. The tone of thebook made me think of another author, but I can't put my finger on who, exactly. Lorrie Moore? Melissa Banks? It's a sad, life will never be better than this, kind of feel.
Lisa Ruminski
Sep 11, 2015 Lisa Ruminski rated it liked it
Like many other readers, I wanted to like this book. It was promising at first, and the coming-of-age theme and 80s zeitgeist were engaging enough. Then it all degenerated into some kind of unimaginative, shock-value swirl into the toilet. I should have stopped when I actually lost interest.
Patty
Jan 06, 2014 Patty rated it liked it
I loved the authors lush descriptions of Hawaii. I felt sad for the protagonist. Such a victim.
Rebecca
Aug 26, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! It's well written, Mamie is an engaging character, and her story felt raw and real. I was suprised by how I was captivated by this novel. It is a worthwhile read. The violence is not gratuitous, and the writing is stark and vivid.
Marci
Jul 23, 2013 Marci rated it really liked it
I was on the verge of giving it five stars. Impressed upon me in a strange and sleepy way. The narration was also a different style for me. I might be partial because of the Hawaii themes but I found Mamie an interesting character, as was everyone she loved.
Rlabbe 2748
Mar 25, 2013 Rlabbe 2748 rated it did not like it
I never give up on books. Ditched this one. Just could not get into it and what I did get what disturbing. Quit 30 pages in. Loved in the cut so kinda bummed...
Patricia
Aug 14, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
Very well written. Wonderfully descriptive. The author makes the reader care about the characters and become involved in their lives. Would definitely recommend.
Pam
May 31, 2010 Pam rated it liked it
I loved the way Moore satirized the upper middle class and contrasted them with people in Hawaii living the island way. Easy read with some thought-provoking moments.
Darci
Sep 05, 2007 Darci rated it really liked it
I was so touched by this book. The yearning for home, the life lessons, growth and healing and failing. I'm going to re-read this.
Dorie
Nov 08, 2007 Dorie rated it did not like it
I couldn't make it through this one. I rarely stop reading a book once I start, but this one just didn't grab me.
Vinessa
Oct 26, 2007 Vinessa rated it really liked it
Different style than In the Cut but still very good.
Juan Pinilla
Sep 22, 2015 Juan Pinilla rated it liked it
Excellent
Matt
May 17, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
Really enjoy this writer
Heather
Jan 22, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
This has some tough imagery but a great story of two sisters kinda like my sister and I. They are very different and sometimes indifferent toward each other but very protective of each other. I ended up liking the book by the end.
kitty
kitty marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Vesna Denić
Vesna Denić rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2016
Karen
Karen added it
Aug 16, 2016
Thabata
Thabata marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2016
Katie
Katie marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
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Susanna Moore 1 5 Sep 08, 2008 07:26AM  
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Susanna Moore is the author of the novels One Last Look, In the Cut, The Whiteness of Bones, Sleeping Beauties, and My Old Sweetheart, which won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her nonfiction travel book, I Myself Have Seen It, was published by the National Geographic Society in ...more
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