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Red at the Bone

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  618 ratings  ·  248 reviews
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming

Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's tau
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Riverhead Books
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4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  618 ratings  ·  248 reviews

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Angela M
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say that Jacqueline Woodson is gifted story teller who writes beautifully almost feels like faint praise. The story begins with Melody, celebrating her sixteenth birthday, walking down the stairs in her grandparents brownstone, reaching a milestone in this present moment moving toward her future. In alternating narratives, moving back and forth in time, Woodson reflects on the pasts of Melody’s mother Iris, her father Aubrey, her grandmother Sabe and grandfather Sammy Po’Boy and the things th ...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lor-2019
I loved it. Loved everything about this book. The gorgeous prose. The way in just a relatively few pages, Woodsen managed to flesh out her characters, making them autentic people. The themes explored. Themes of mother, daughter relationships, teenage pregnant, ambition, fatherhood and sexual identity. The many different emotions she manages to provoke, emotions that changed as the story progressed. How young people make decisions about their lives, things that will affect them in the future, not ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: d-a-buddy-reads, ew
What a beautiful little jewel of a book! Red at the Bone is told from the perspectives of five members of a somewhat unconventional family. At the centre of the story is Iris, who was 16 when she had her daughter Melodie. The three other family members are Iris' parents and Melodie's father. There is no linearity to the story. Slowly, through different layers, we get a bit more information about what happened to the characters and mostly a strong sense of their very distinct personalities. The e ...more
This pogo-sticker is hoppin’ and she’s not stoppin’!

This book, oh this book! A jazzy story with heart and smarts, it’s got me hoppin’ to the tune of 5+ stars! Where has this phenomenal writer been all my life? Oh what she can do with words!

This wasn’t a book that took a while to draw me in. I started reading, and POW, I was immediately in love. The language! It grabbed me fast and it held me tight. It’s poetic without being flowery. It’s jazzy, with an intense pulse and a cadence that makes my
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical, poignant, powerful, Red at the bone by Jacqueline Woodson will mesmerize you with its spellbinding tale how people from different origins and backgrounds come together, love, create a new life, stay or go their different ways and continue living.
The book begins with a special kind of celebration- it is Melody's sixteenth birthday and her coming of age party. She is wearing a custom made vintage dress, a corset and silk stockings. The dress was sewn and paid for by her maternal grandpare
I have no words to describe how great a writer Jacqueline Woodson is. Her writing genuinely takes my breathe away and I always in awe at how she uses words so sparingly but is able to convey so much- witchcraft!

Red At The Bone opens with sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony. Surrounded by friends and family, we get an immersive look into Melody's life and the events leading up to this ceremony. The ceremony is a considered a part of Melody's family history, but for some reason, Me
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorites
“Guess that’s where the tears came from, knowing that there’s so much in this great big world that you don’t have a single ounce of control over.”

Let’s take a trip down memory lane...

Melody is a lost girl. Carrying a burden she never asked for. Aubrey is a lost man. Trying to make every thing right but failing again and again. Iris is a lost woman. Trying to get back the time she feels she lost. Woodson gives us glimpses of the choices made by each of these characters in the past and how it impa
The Artisan Geek
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookcase, favourites
A sincere thank you to my fam at Riverhead books for sending this one over. I just can't understand how someone can write so flawlessly! Completely dazed! Woodson has a unique talent of being able to shape such interesting and rich characters. With ease she shift between past and present of the people's lives, threading together one complete family history. A history that has been marked by unexpected joy, pain and discovery. This is my first read from Woodson and I am absolutely hooked. W
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
It's 2001 and sixteen-year-old Melody is celebrating her birthday surrounded by family and friends.  Told from alternating points of view, readers learn the past that brought two very different families together for this momentous occasion. 

Red at the Bone is a poignant story that I devoured in one sitting.  The voice of each character is powerful and authentic.  The tragedies that play major parts in their lives were heartbreaking.  This is an unflinching look at family and how we become one, s
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jacqueline Woodson is a NATIONAL TREASURE. This is one of the very few books that has made me break down into no-holds-barred ugly crying at the end. Nuanced, devastating, and yet empowering and hopeful, this is a perfect read.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“If a body is to be remembered, someone has to tell its story”
Tell a story of bodies is exactly what Jaqueline Woodson has done in red at the bone. Once again she has proven a master storyteller and a writer with the utmost ability to bring her characters to life and make you feel everything that they are going through, the love, the sadness, the hate, the life, and the death. She beautifully weaves this tapestry of a novel about one family and their lives past, present and future. I was left s
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I finished this book. And it made me cry in public. And I want to read it again. So I can feel this feeling again. I did not read the synopsis of this book before reading. I just cracked it open. It opens with 16-year old Melody making her entrance in a dress that had been custom made for her mom Iris' 16th birthday but she never got to wear. Why? Because of an unexpected pregnancy with Melody. As Melody's grandparents and parents watch her walk down the steps we get the back story of everyon ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Because if a body's to be remembered, someone has to tell its story." This is one of the many quotes I highlighted in RED AT THE BONE, this beautiful, gut-punch of a novel by Jacqueline Woodson. A piece of the highest literary craftsmanship, each chapter alternates character, and each character's voice is so real I felt like they were talking directly to me, or that each character was telling me their story instead of one author writing it. I felt intimately connected with everyone in this fami ...more
Bruce Katz
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If anyone were to ask me what the "point" of literature is, I would direct them to this book for its power, insight, and humanity. I read it in a single sitting while on a four hour flight. Had the book been longer, I likely would not have been able to finish it -- but there's an equal possibility that I would have resisted getting off the plane until I was done reading. I can't imagine that ending well.

Woodson's novel immediately before this, "Another Brooklyn," had a strong effect on me. Never
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing as dangerous as a poet writing a novel. A breathtaking, distilled story of a family.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, literary-fiction
Am I the last person to have discovered one of the USA's greatest literary treasures? Lord! 4.5 ⭐. Review after I gather myself and post it on IG.
Paris (parisperusing)
"Because maybe this was what love felt like — a constant ache, an endless need. … Maybe this was love — wanting someone with all the senses."Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson

After poring over Another Brooklyn when it released years ago, I rushed at the opportunity to read Jacqueline Woodson's new novel, Red at the Bone, a tale defined by the sensitive and difficult nature of black motherhood, queerness, sexuality, and the painful lengths we go to starve our bodies of its most natural desire
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This should be called... Margarine

So much could be said surrounding the intricacies of these characters; the weaving in an out of racially fraught spaces, their own struggles to legitimize the inherent bigotry in their lives, and to recognize purity, love, and the thrust towards salvation in the very moment that it is being given to them.
However, in reading this piece I was most affected by the ways in which certain characters subtly, but irrevocably stained others, by assigning them new truths
Jillian Doherty
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This incredibly powerful gift should come with a disclaimer: potent and brilliantly shattering!

Wow - I had to decompress after finishing; I couldn't put it down from the moment I started and needed to rest before even considering moving away from the story and experience.
I've never read such concentrated passages, and completely in awe of her heart-bending, and totally effective prose.

This September, please take a big, deep breath and dive in without even fully knowing how deep this will take
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
What I appreciate about Jacqueline Woodson's writing is how she is able to pack so much into so few pages--so much story, so much character, so much emotion, so much poetry. But she manages to do it in a way that doesn't feel either too dense or incomplete--she still gives so much space and room for her characters and story to breathe. Just a great storyteller.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read one other book by her but now I’ll read them all because she’s that good. Her characters are so real, the writing gets under your skin and reading this is a life experience. While experiencing the human condition us whites also share a glimpse into being black. 3 days later I am still emotionally involved with these characters.

I consider myself so lucky to have won the GR giveaway for this book.
Kristi Lamont
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once again I spent another afternoon in a fever dream with Jacqueline Woodson, experiencing other people’s lives as if they were my own. This woman writes history, this woman writes truth.
Nada Hosny
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my very first Jacqueline Woodson book, and honestly i'm beyond impressed
The story starts with Melody's sixteen birthday, it's more of a huge family celebration, where they celebrate all of the kids coming to age. Melody is the child that joined 2 families  from different classes by her birth.
So the first chapter is from Melody's POV, and then we take tours to read everyone else's POV, and back story; we have: 
Her mother, Iris
Her father, Aubrey
Her grandmother
Her grandfather
And then we
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this!
This story is about two urban black families and shifts around in time and is told by the points of view of each of the five characters.
An unplanned teenage pregnancy and how their lives go forward for a young couple, the daughter they bring forth, and the maternal grandparents.
It is poetic and dramatic and I just couldn’t stop reading!

This is the third book I’ve read by this author... I need to read her others.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss, netgalley
Red at the Bone is a multifaceted tale of generations of an African-American family. Woodson has created lyrical prose in its finest and adeptly moves the story back and forth through multiple time periods. The story explores multiple, powerful and poignant themes, including racism, class disparity, teen pregnancy, and family dynamics. It is a tale of what it means to grow up and how the outcome one’s rash decisions can have lifetime consequences. Beautifully told and exquisitely written.

Many th
Ernest & Hadley Booksellers
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Strickingly poignant story line that meshes the lives of two families together so seamlessly, so thoughtfully, with love of family and oneself as the common thread. It's the mother story we all understand and the daughter story we all need to learn.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful story!

I rarely give five-star ratings because there's always some element, during my time with a book, where some event, technique, or plot point will disappoint of baffle me; making the book less enjoyable than it otherwise might have been.

The only issue I had with Red at the Bone is it ended before I was ready to say goodbye to its characters.

I wanted to continue with them, for just a bit longer, to see where their lives would lead.

As the book begins, it's 2001, and we'r
Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cried. It hurt. So many in just such few hours of the audiobook.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Brittany J. (BNJreads)
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excuse me while I weep.....
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Angela, Diane and Esil discuss 24 6 Aug 13, 2019 06:15AM  
I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories a