Babydoll's Reviews > Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
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's review
Dec 08, 2011

really liked it
Read from November 28 to December 06, 2011

Ok. I have to admit it. I felt an abundance of awe while reading Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. The sort of awe-inspiring admiration an avid reader’s experience, while reading a novel whose lyrical prose is so breathtaking, that you know you’ve just discovered your new favorite author. Ward has received numerous notable attentions for this novel, including the National Book Award for fiction. After reading it, I can undoubtedly understand the reason the accolades were given.

The novel begins on a humid Mississippi Summer in 2005. Readers are introduced to the Batiste family eleven days before Hurricane Katrina makes her violent mark upon the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, MS. The story is told in first person narrative by the main character Esch, a coy fourteen year old girl, who seems to waddle in despair over the failure of an idolized crush and holds an immense amount of uncertainty of her self-worth. Esch is the sole feminine presence in the household, which consists of her father and three brothers. Esch’s mother, Rose, had an untimely death years before, resulting from the complicated birth of Junior, the youngest member of the Batiste family. With no female influences present, Esch has taken on the role of the mother of the house, only to discover that the role may soon become a permanent responsibility in her life.

Although the novel spans twelve days and leads up to the climatic point of when the storm lands, Ward demonstrates a remarkable ability at creating relatable characters. Esch is the main character; however her three brothers and fathers are also notable figures in the book. The Batiste family resides in a rural, poverty stricken area in the coastal regions of Mississippi. Randall is the oldest sibling in the family, and the most athletic, with his keen and precise basketball skills. He is presented as the practical figure in the family, especially when his drunken father, Claude, is uselessly milling around their yard searching for junk and scraps. This spacious area of land is known as the Pit. Jason, also referred to as Skeetah, is the second oldest and is described as an incredibly fearless and unapologetically stubborn young man. He also shares a seemingly passionate love affair with China, a female pitbull, doused in a pristine white coat and regarded as a vicious dog fighter within the community. The relationship between Skeetah and China borders the union between man and wife. Lastly, there is Junior, the youngest at seven years old, and is described as the typical energetic boy, whose curiosity of the world, allots him with mischievous adventure.

Salvage the Bones is a brilliant novel that showcases the unconditional love of family, the enduring support of community, and the unconventional love that can be forged between man and animal. The narrative delves into the harsh realities of poverty, while illustrating the power of survival. With each turn of the page, Ward not only offers a memorable story, however, readers are engorged in such melodic lyrical expositions, that it reads like poetry. I highly recommend this book to others.
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Reading Progress

11/28/2011 page 37
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Precious Williams What do you think of it? I am soo looking forward to reading it

Babydoll Hey Precious!
I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is very well written, and the characters are intriguing and relatable. Jesmyn is such a talented writer, and I find it refreshing to read great work by young African American female authors. This novel was definitely worthy of the National Book Award.

message 3: by U.L. (new)

U.L. Harper Thanks. I just got a sample of this on the kindle. I hadn't heard of it until your review. Sounds fantastic.

Babydoll Hey U.L.,
Thank you for taking the time out to read my review. I hope you enjoy it the book :)

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

What a beautiful thorough review! I must push this book up on my TBR list.

Babydoll Hey Vern! Thanks so much for taking the time out to read it. I hope you enjoy the book...let me know what you think :)

Rodney Thanks for your review. I've just started reading the book and the richness of Ward's writing is exceptional.

Babydoll Thank you for taking the time out to read my review. Ward is such a talented writer, and I'm glad your enjoying the novel so far. :)

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