Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Those Bones Are Not My Child” as Want to Read:
Those Bones Are Not My Child
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Those Bones Are Not My Child

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  172 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Written over a span of twelve years, and edited by Toni Morrison, who calls Those Bones Are Not My Child the author's magnum opus, Bambara's last novel leaves us with an enduring and revelatory chronicle of an American nightmare.

In a suspenseful novel of uncommon depth and intensity, Toni Cade Bambara renders a harrowing portrait of a city under siege. Having elected its f
Paperback, 688 pages
Published October 24th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Those Bones Are Not My Child, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Those Bones Are Not My Child

Beloved by Toni MorrisonThe Darkest Child by Delores PhillipsSugar by Bernice L. McFaddenThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerSilver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Contemporary Black Women's Literature
22nd out of 149 books — 80 voters
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka BruntThis Is How You Lose Her by Junot DíazEverything I Never Told You by Celeste NgI Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney MaumI Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
By the title
51st out of 161 books — 36 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 789)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
May 27, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: novel
There is no doubt that this is a hard book to read. It takes place in Atlanta during the time of the Atlanta Child Murders. I guess I like this book more than most people, because I feel that Bambara did a good job of capturing the fear and tumult that Atlanta experienced. I still have my "Save the Children" button, that many people took to wearing as some sign of solidarity during those traumatic times. It didn't matter, though, we were all looking at each other with wary eyes. Bambara also dep ...more
Courtney H.
Bambara died before she could finish this book, written and researched over a 15-year period. I would have liked to see what Bambara might have done with the editing process herself. Her friend, Toni Morrison, did the final edits, and it is clear that Morrison felt uncomfortable about making the cuts or decisions that the author herself might have made. I don't blame Morrison--Bambara is a master, and this was the work of a lifetime. How do you cut her words down? But I can't help but think that ...more
I wrote a long review about this book and magically it disappeared. I'm taking that as a sign to be brief about my feelings regarding this book and move on to the next novel that awaits me.

This isn't a good read. It is way too long and rather than focusing on the plot it reads like research on the Atlanta Child Murders instead of the novel that it presents itself to be. The characters seem to be thrown in as needed and the main character-the missing son- is rarely even focused on. The book comp
(FROM JACKET)"Those Bones Are Not My Child" is a staggering achievement: the novel that Toni Cade Bambara worked on for twelve years until her death in 1995-a story that puts us at the center of the nightmare of the Atlanta child murders.

It was called "The City Too Busy To Hate", but two decades ago more than forty black children were murdered there with grim determination, their bodies found-in ditches, on riverbeds-strangled, beaten, and sexually assaulted. Bambara was living in Atlanta at th
I have been looking at this book on my shelf for some years. I love the work of Toni Cade Bambara, especially her previous novel, The Salt Eaters. Those Bones is not an easy read, but it is an extraordinary one. It is the story of one woman, one family, one city and indeed all of the USA. The story is about a spate of murders that occurred in Atlanta n the early 1980s. More than 40 black children were abducted, sexually abused, beaten and murdered. But the establishment deemed them runaways and ...more
I actually made it about halfway through the book (though I have no idea how) and had to finally stop.

Some of the language was so graceful, some of the feelings so intense, but overall the book was a effort to read and comprehend. Too many names, too few explanations of those names, too few connections between present and past, no real details.

It seemed as though she was writing from the perspective of mainly the mother and father and it makes total sense that their thoughts would be foggy, ch
Jul 10, 2008 Joolie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: smartie pantsez
Recommended to Joolie by: peta
I have read two books by Toni Cade Bambara, and she was a brilliant writer. So brilliant, that i think she is too smart for me! I love her language but sometimes it was hard to follow for me - more so in The Salt Eaters. She was definitely not fond of the linear and her writings soak up layers and shifting times and characters. In other words, you may need to keep on yr toes. This book is a fictionalized story of true events that happened in and around Atlanta during the late 70's and early 80's ...more
I am pained to say this, but this book was a huge disappointment especially because the subject matter is so important. The book is about the Atlanta about the dark time in Atlanta when over 40 children were killed by a serial killer. After two years of terror, a Black man, Wayne Williams was arrested and convicted. But alot of people think some one else killed these children because there wasn't alot of evidence against Williams. Including the fact that some of the victimes were 18 and much st ...more
I found this story of a mother's quest for answers in the disappearance of her son very moving and enjoyed the book with one exception...the ending was frustrating.. which is why I only gave it a 4.

***January 2013***
Re-reading. Finding this second reading more pleasurable than I did the first time.
I found that by leaving out chapters like chapter 5 and concentrating on one aspect at a time,makes what can be a confusing read,move along smoothly.
There is an amazing novel yet to be written about the Atlanta Child Murders, but unfortunately, this isn't it. Although it's appealingly obsessive, it's also undisciplined and, ultimately, incoherent; its energy doesn't appear to be serving anything except unreflective outrage and confusion, and not much comes of anything as a result, which is really too bad. For a brilliant take on the case, see James Baldwin's "The Evidence of Things Not Seen."
Ryan Mishap
Her last book is a fictionalized account of Atlanta during the early eighties when children were disappearing. I attempted to wade through it and sank quickly. The writing was fine, but put together in a way I couldn't get comfortable with. I could tell the novel was going to be too long so I stopped.
You might have better luck.
Mar 22, 2010 Cheryl marked it as to-read
from an old list: Written over span of 12 years, and edited by Toni Morrison, who calls Those Bones Are Not My Child the author's magnum opus, Toni Cade Bambara's last novel leaves us with an enduring and revelatory chronicle of an American nightmare.
Would have been a masterpiece, if Toni Morrison had done her job, which was to EDIT the thing after Bambara died.
Rima  Begum
Such a beautiful written book!!!!!

It made me so angry about what happended in atlanta.

The killers are still out there and the authourities know who they are!!!!!!
Horrifying novel of true events, unsolved child murders in Atlanta, police refused to investigate. Gave me my most intimate glimpse into living as an AFrican American in the US.
Jan 10, 2012 Izzy added it
Shelves: savor-the-read
I couldn't finish this novel, but I really wanted to. I can learn a lot from her writing, so I'll keep this and re-read sections for inspiration.
I rarely stop once I start a book. I could not get through this. Disjointed, confusing story about the Atlanta child murders.
I'm having hard time with this, but I think it'll be worth it in the end. Just not right now. I'm setting it down for a bit.
Linnja (Lynn)
Jun 02, 2010 Linnja (Lynn) marked it as returned-no-interest  ·  review of another edition
I looked up news articles about the Wayne Williams serial murders and decided I'd read all I needed to know.
Oct 29, 2007 Jaime rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: patient folks
I tried, I really did. I wanted to finish this book. But I couldn't quite make it.
I kept hoping it would get better but it was just bad.
Jun 04, 2009 Ruth added it
Shelves: dnf
Tried 2 or 3 times. Cannot finish this book
Interesting subject, tedious presentation.
Tried to read it twice. Did not compute.
Precious Williams
Aug 04, 2010 Precious Williams is currently reading it
5 out of 5 so far!
Sonya Wesley
Sonya Wesley marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2015
Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie marked it as to-read
Feb 24, 2015
Liiii-chan marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
Gaijinmama marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Daughter
  • Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns: Stories
  • The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
  • Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
  • Ugly Ways
  • Our Black Year: One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy
  • Unbought And Unbossed
  • Daughters of the Dust -Op/111
  • Homegirls and Handgrenades
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones
  • Corregidora
  • The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
  • Some Sing, Some Cry
  • Daddy Was a Number Runner
  • Iola Leroy: Shadows Uplifted
  • Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self: The Givens Collection
  • Plum Bun: A Novel without a Moral
  • Babylon Sisters
Toni Cade Bambara, born Miltona Mirkin Cade (March 25, 1939 – December 9, 1995) was an African-American author, documentary film-maker, social activist and college professor.

Toni Cade Bambara was born in New York City to parents Walter and Helen (Henderson) Cade. She grew up in Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), Queens and New Jersey. In 1970 she changed her name to include the name of a West
More about Toni Cade Bambara...
Gorilla, My Love The Salt Eaters Raymond's Run The Sea Birds Are Still Alive Deep Sightings & Rescue Missions: Fiction, Essays, and Conversations

Share This Book