Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bones Buried in the Dirt” as Want to Read:
Bones Buried in the Dirt
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bones Buried in the Dirt

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The stories of this novel in story form act together to present the young life a boy named Peter. Ranging from Peter at ages four to twelve, the stories focus on the moments in childhood that get buried in the mind but are never fully absorbed. Unlike most coming of age tales, Peter is never brought forward into adulthood. Rather, though the stories are reflective, the dis ...more
Paperback, first edition, 168 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by River Otter Press
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 Bones Buried in the Dirt, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bones Buried in the Dirt

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  43 ratings  ·  30 reviews

Sort order
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a novel in parts, a series of stories about a boy named Peter, and his adventures in childhood. It's not a straight narrative as much as an exploration of the perceptions of a kid who hasn't reached that critical junior high age where they begin to doubt the world, mistrust their parents, and question what's being told to them. I've noticed that my own memories of that late elementary school period are questionable, because I didn't have the full knowledge of what was ...more
Chris Blocker
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: un-mfa
I haven't read much in the horror genre, but what little I have read didn't provide me with feelings of terror as one might expect, but feelings of uncertainty and unease. Most readers wouldn't think of David S. Atkinson's Bones Buried in the Dirt as horror, and it's not, but it certainly left me with these same feelings. Given its subject of childhood, this in itself is unsettling.

I realize this review is about Atkinson's novel, but I'm going to make it about me for the moment. You see, I can't
Kyle Muntz
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bones of the Earth is about childhood. And cruelty--the cruelty that exist between children when games go wrong or mean jokes aren’t funny anymore; in the ways parents treat their children, especially the lack of communication; and in the world, when the child discovers the way things really are. Atkinson’s prose is simple, but effective. The stories are innocent, but not idyllic. Each one gave me the sense that it was peeling away another layer of naivety, to the reveal the dark pits in friends ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Following a boy named Peter from age four to twelve, Bones Buried in the Dirt looked at childhood from a unique perspective. It didn't simply depict some extreme view (idyllic, disillusioned, etc) but rather childhood as a whole: the mundane, the exciting, confusing, and scary.

Every aspect was depicted with startling accuracy and insight, so much so that I found myself so completely absorbed in the story that I nearly forgot it was not actually being told by a 5th grade boy. That's just how rea
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
David’s book was quite a surprise. It’s not what you’d call a children’s book, but it’s a book of stories written from the point of view of a child named Peter. But I think maybe it’s not even that. They’re stories from our younger self, because these stories capture not just the daily life of what its like being a kid, but those moments in childhood that we as adults might realize as being little turning points in our development, the moments when we make conscious and subconscious choices that ...more
Nathaniel Tower
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a masterful collection of childhood stories weaved together in a novel that captures the essence of life from youth to adolescence and beyond. At times disturbing, at times heartbreaking, somehow always hilarious and engaging, Bones seems to have the unique tone of an adult reminiscing and ruminating about childhood through the child's real voice. These stories, whether the reader has experienced any of them or not--and we all have--are told with such youthful mastery ...more
Peter Tieryas
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this collection of poignant childhood tales by David S. Atkinson. As a personal note, I usually don't like stories with a character named Peter as it just takes me out of it, but these stories were really wonderfully written so I was happy to make an exception. The stories revolve around Peter and involve a bunch of his adventures as he grows, learns about 'life'. That could come across as cheesy, but it's really well done here with subtlety, and sometimes not so subtle, moments. ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I will say,first of all that I am biased-I am related to the author. Though I have difficulty in composing even simple email messages that does not prevent me from recognizing good writing. Few adults can write child literature from a true children's perspective with the sometimes raw but always honest emotions you see in childhood. This book reminded me of times & memories in my childhood-both good & bad times. I found myself hurting & laughing for Peter in "Wooden Nickel Payback.". ...more
Joseph Michael Owens
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-dave-recd
review forthcoming!
Leah (Books Speak Volumes)
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a novel in short stories that follows a boy named Peter as he grows from a child of four to a pre-teen of twelve. Atkinson shows us many moments, from the most everyday to the most memorable, that shape Peter’s personality and values during the time when he is the most impressionable.

Although Atkinson writes about childhood, a time often looked back on as idyllic, these stories never feel nostalgic. Rather, Peter’s first-person narration makes the stories feel as thou
Ryan Werner
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
David Atkinson is one of the best dudes out there in terms of Friend of Writers with capital letters. This book is eerie in how it nails the unassuming (or, often, the incorrectly-assuming) narratives of childhood. The voice is too spot on, nomadic, almost, in terms of the young mind that won't stop moving because it's the only thing it knows how to do.

As the narrator made his mistakes, began to understand how social construct works, I cringed along with him, thinking of my own missteps. If ther
Michael Seidlinger
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
David S. Atkinson has carefully carved out a vivid line through childhood with a voice that is pitch perfect, the authentic inner child calling out, crying and cheering about times past.

Simpler times they weren't.

[full review forthcoming]
Bud Smith
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bones Buried in the Dirt opens up with a quote from Bill Watterson, the creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip: "I never understood people who remember childhood as an idyllic time."

The short stories in this collection could not exemplify this belief any stronger. Boys are forbidden to leave the block by over-bearing parents, and thus thrown into a strange never ending cycle of block war fare, weird play dates, betrayals, sexual exploration, strife, boredom and misunderstanding.

These are
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Atkinson’s novel in short story form is unnervingly raw, and subtly touching. It was an uncomfortable read from beginning to end. It rips away the fuzzy, pink insulation that is normally wrapped around memories of childhood, leaving behind jagged edges that cut and wound. Atkinson captures quite clearly the contradictions of childhood, this time period that many adults tend to romanticize. The sweet memories of playing with childhood friends and first crushes are there, but they have been darken ...more
Pat Pujolas
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a great example of why I love independent presses and publishing. Here, Atkinson gives us a pitch-perfect account of a young boy's childhood, in a simpler time (that is, just prior to the information age). The tales here are brutally honest; they will make you wince; they will make you smile. But all in all, you'll walk away with Atkinson's unique voice inside your head, which is fantastic, and another great example of why independent publishing deserves our attention.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, loved
I had the amazing opportunity to read this book prior...and loved it. Dave does an amazing job capturing a child's voice in this. It brought so many memories of what being a kid felt like. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something new and different to read :)
Juli Rahel
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When this novel was offered to me for review I was immediately intrigued by the summary. 'Bones Buried in the Dirt' by David Atkinson sounded different to most childhood-related novels I have read before and I can say now, after having finished it, that it is a good thing!

This novel has an honest cruelty to it that I found very remarkable. Narratives about childhood often either idealize it or tear it to the ground, both to the effect that the reader ends up with an unrealistic image of childhoo
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a group of stories about Peter, a young boy growing up and experiencing childhood. Each chapter is a new day in his life, and each day is a new experience. While some stories may seem far more significant than others, each one will have an impact on Peter and will shape who he becomes.

I have to say that Bones Buried in the Dirt is one of the most intense books I have read in a long time. I knew going into this book that Peter was a younger child, but somewhere along
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review was first posted on Music, Books and Tea

Last year, I branched out my reading habits a little, and read two fabulous short-story collections with We Bury the Landscape and Watering Heaven. I enjoyed both a great deal, and that was what made me excited to read Bones Buried in the Dirt.

I don’t think a book has ever left me feeling so empty after I’ve read it. And I do not mean that in a bad way whatsoever. But all of the short stories in this collection are incredibly raw to read, and t
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
Reading the short stories from Peter's childhood kind of make you think of your own childhood. What we did as kids trying to pretend we were 'grown up' and not really understanding it. Watching an innocent kid acting out very adult things.

In this story, we get to see little snippets from Peter's life and watch how he reacts to things and tries to comprehend what's going on. We get to see the mistakes his parents make while trying to teach him life lessons. We watch the kids tease others and try
D.M. Lee
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a collection of short stories which work very well individually but when brought together create a work of even greater strength. Peter, through whom the stories are told, is at that point in life where childhood innocence is making way for juvenile curiosity.

Peter's desire to play war games and run free through his neighbourhood still exists but it is rapidly merging with a developing interest in girls and the need to prove his worth to the friends around him, often
Jenni Vey
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bones Buried in the Dirt is the incredibly well-written first person narrative of a boy named Peter, growing up in the Midwest during the 1980's. I found this pre-coming-of-age story unusually fascinating, in the sense that it achieves a depth that can only be reached by ripping away the shroud of ego surrounding the day-to-day memories of an ordinary childhood. In doing so, Peter is able to walk the reader through 8 years of his life with raw, often unnerving honesty, unveiling as he goes, inno ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of intriguing stories which is a great example of what story collections can really be if done properly.
Throughout the stories, we follow Peter as he maneuvers his way through childhood. It was risky of the author to write from this viewpoint, since it is easy for the writing to feel “fake” when the main character is a child. In this case, the narrative is so straight-forward, told in such an innocent way, that the voice becomes poignant, highlighting the cruelties that sur
Ken Brosky
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nothing is harder than capturing the ethos of a child, writing from a child's perspective, and bringing the reader into a child's world. This is where Atkinson's writing excels. He goes beyond writing about children and instead encourages the reader to be a part of his fictional world. "His teeth chattered as he talked. It made me think of the monkeys at the zoo." Writing like this invites the reader in, lets the reader see the world through the narrator's eyes. It's the same world, only differe ...more
Annam Manthiram
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Instantly I was taken by Peter's voice: its gritty and realistic tone which at times is mature and other times is innocent. Each story serves as a snapshot of Peter's childhood, which collectively form a larger narrative which comments more on the nature of memory than on Peter himself. The stories are bones--fossils of who Peter will become as an adult. Individually they are important, but together they construct a larger identity for the reader and a world that exists outside the pages of this ...more
Rhonda Williams
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Authentically capturing the voice of a child is no easy task, but it is a task David S. Atkinson has accomplished with aplomb. Bones Buried in the Dirt is an unflinching look at the meanness, the heartbreak, the thousand and one little victories, triumphs, and defeats that make up childhood. Peter is an absolute delight of a narrator as we follow him though various stages of his life. By turns uproariously funny and heart wrenching, Bones Buried in the Dirt is honest and unflinching.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sparsely and beautifully written stories about childhood sexuality, violence, and terror.

More -
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and unique collection of short stories that capture universal themes from everyone's childhood!
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
David truly knows the mindset, voice and experience of growing up in the 70's/ 80's. Good read!
Apr 22, 2015 marked it as abandoned
I wanted to like it...
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
David S. Atkinson is the author of books such as "Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep" (forthcoming July 1, 2018), "Apocalypse All the Time," and the Nebraska book award winning "Not Quite so Stories." He is a Staff Reader for "Digging Through The Fat" and his writing appears in "Spelk," "Jellyfish Review," "Thrice Fiction," "Literary Orphans," and more. ...more