Bonnie's Reviews > Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
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Jun 29, 12

bookshelves: 2011-books, southern-fried-lit
Read in April, 2012

This was the winner of the National Book Awards last year and while I definitely don’t think it was the best piece of fiction written in 2011, it was a pretty fine book and has enough meat to it that it would be good fodder for book groups.

I loved the family relationships in this. Skeetah, obsessed with his dogs because it is the one thing in the world that is his and because the love he feels for his dog (& her puppies) is used to fill the hole caused by his broken family. Plus, he sees a future in her since she and her offspring are profitable. Feral little Junior. And Randall, trying to make a future for himself in sports and hold his family together. Plus, Esch, who doesn’t have enough self worth to say no when boys come sniffing around or to demand respect from her babydaddy. The father is barely present, even though he lives in the house and does his best to prepare his house and family for hurricanes.

I liked Randall best – he was the family member with the most character and definitely the most decent of them all. Skeetah was the most interesting because he seemed to care more about his dogs than himself and even possibly his family. That dog was his whole world, though even with that he was still more observant than the rest of his family (he was the only one who seemed to know that Esch slept around and he was definitely the first to notice that she was pregnant).

And the scene where Katrina finally struck? Extremely nerve-wracking and nail-biting.

The big downside of this book was that Ward likes dumping huge paragraphs of description that I could just not follow. Plus she has the tendency to speak in circles around events instead of coming straight out with what she means. More poetic, but more confusing.
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