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

Red at the Bone

by
4.03  ·  Rating details ·  17,664 ratings  ·  2,710 reviews
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn
...more
Hardcover, 196 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Riverhead Books
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 Red at the Bone, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Diana Fisher Agree with the earlier answers that it is unlikely realistically to have a major leak when breastfeeding has gaps of months (during a college…moreAgree with the earlier answers that it is unlikely realistically to have a major leak when breastfeeding has gaps of months (during a college semester). I think the author just used it as a way to force Iris to be honest about her past, and learn that one has to be honest with partners if there is to be any future together.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,664 ratings  ·  2,710 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Red at the Bone
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finally my soul landed on a poignant, beautifully written, emotional, heart-warming story. When this year’s fiction books suffer from lack of creativity and mostly published by commercial success, it is normal to fall everything under your expectations. I loved “Nickel Boys”, “Woman is no Man”, “Ask Again Yes” so much, but lately I haven’t found any gem as marvelous as them till I read this book and now I’m happy to announce this is one of the best fictions of this year (Probably it will compete ...more
Chaima ✨ شيماء
Red at the Bone landed heavily within me, like a stone sinking in deep water, and the thought of it still makes my heart racket strangely in my chest. Now, I'm snatching at things to say, grasping for anything to make you want to read this book, and sentence by sentence it all evades me. I feel that with every word I put down, I'm writing myself further from what I meant to say.

Red at the Bone is, on its face, a novel that traces the story of an African-American family and the events that
...more
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 ...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
Will Byrnes
…now I knew there were so many ways to get hung from a cross—a mother’s love for you morphing into something incomprehensible. A dress ghosted in another generation’s dreams. A history of fire and ash and loss. Legacy.
Melody is sixteen, having her coming out party in her home, her grandparents home, in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. We are introduced to her father, her grandparents, her bff, her world. She has chosen for her entrance music something that draws a line between her generation and those
...more
Jen
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story is raw with emotion.
A child who is turning 16 and having a coming of age party evokes the memories of her from her mom, when she had her at 16, her dad - just a kid himself, grandma who raised her as her own daughter, and grandpa who loved her to death.
They all do but it’s their stories around this child growing up and how she changed their lives forever.
The themes of racism, education, teenage pregnancy. The costs each of them endured during the course of their lives.
All these
...more
Karen
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.
Debbie
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
...more
JanB
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a look at the effects of teenage pregnancy on two families, one well-off, the other poor. Told through shifting time and the perspectives of the parents, the grandparents, and the child, the writing itself is worthy of 5 stars. I appreciated the themes as well as the push against stereotypes. The author set out to do what she intended with this book but for me, the story itself was good, but not a memorable read. I'm in the minority as many readers love this one.

* I received a copy of
...more
Toni
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
...more
Esil
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ew, d-a-buddy-reads
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 ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio Group and Libro.fm for the free audio copy.

I’ve been waiting to read this book since I knew of its existence. Jacqueline Woodson is becoming a go-to author for me, and Red at the Bone is just as emotionally smart as her other books I’ve read. It was also thought-provoking and powerful, and I highly recommend it. The audio has multiple narrators, including some cameos from Woodson herself, and it’s also worthy of five stars.
Cheri
“Iris pressed the cold envelopes and magazine against her lips.I was fifteen, she whispered into them. Fifteen. I wasn’t even anybody yet.”

There’s so much love that flows through the pages of Woodson’s latest story, weaving back and forth through time to tell the story of a family through the ages. From Sabe’s story we know the time and place where she grew up, the things she’s seen, the history she’s lived through. All these provide insight into her daughter Iris’s coming future. A future that
...more
Andy Marr
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Family, race, sexuality, gender, history: it's incredible how much Woodson has managed to fit into this short novel. A delight from start to finish.
Libby
How beautifully poetic is Jacqueline Woodson’s prose in “Red at the Bone.” It is a generational story that Woodson begins with Melody’s sixteen-year-old cotillion in the spring of 2001. Her mother, Iris, remembers becoming pregnant with Melody when she was only fifteen. Aubrey, Melody’s father, and Melody’s grandparents, Po’Boy and Sabe, have been the stabilizing forces in Melody’s life. Even though Iris breastfed Melody for three years, since then, she’s become the mother who’s always gone.

I
...more
Zoeytron
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
I was not able to grab the golden ring with this novel that so many of my fellow reviewers did. The format in which it was written came across as choppy to me and did not allow me to become fully immersed in the story. And thus, I flounder against the tide this time. I do respect the story's message of the appreciation of life and love, and the acceptance of what just is. ...more
*TUDOR^QUEEN*
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the concept of this story involving a black family. It begins with a sixteen year old girl named Melody majestically descending her staircase accompanied by an orchestra, wearing a beautiful white "coming out" dress that once belonged to her mother Iris...but she never got to wear...because she got pregnant with Melody at the age of 15. Melody's father Aubrey is so overcome with pride that the tears pour helplessly down his face, and he's flummoxed as to what to do with his ...more
Brina
My nonfiction reading year is coming to a close. It has been rewarding in more ways than one but also tedious and redundant as I find myself looking forward to a coming year where I will read both nonfiction and novels. Having not read a work of fiction other than a middle grade kids book in eight months, I have decided to ease back into my fiction reading. I have been wowed by Jacqueline Woodson’s writing before so when I saw my library had a new book of hers, I decided to read it over this ...more
Jenna
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
First off, let me say that Jacqueline Woodson writes exquisitely! Reading her words is like being enveloped in a song. I wanted to love this book, oh how I wanted to love it! Instead, I had a hard time connecting, even whilst I loved reading the words. I think the reason for this is that there are so many narrators and at times I got confused as to who was speaking. I really didn't connect with any of the characters except for Iris. Had the book been written in her voice alone, I think this ...more
Bianca
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the first Jacqueline Woodson novel that I read.
Red at the Bone is a small novel that covers three generations of African-Americans. The story moves back and forward in time, between several characters, showing snippets of their lives, conversations, memories, recollections.
The writing style gave this novel a dream-like quality.
Occasionally I struggled with this novel as it took a couple of phrases or more to find out whose pov we were reading, so I think that jerked me awake and
...more
Chrissie
My friends love this book. I hate it. It is not pleasant to write a review in such a situation, but it Is wrong to say you hate a book and then give no explanation.

This book revels in suffering. It is a common phenomenon to observe people aggravating a wound to increase their pain. This may be a way of venting one’s spleen on life’s injustices. We can in this way feel sorry for ourselves! Some people are drawn to stare at an accident. I am not. Life throws difficulties at many , no, in fact
...more
Dem
Sep 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: not-for-me
Not going to rate this book as I DNF it but it’s just not for me and I just don't want to give it any

more of my time.

I did however listen to 20% of this on audible and the narration was well done and

with audible you may return the book for any reason and get a refund on your credit which really is

very fair and one of the reasons I love Audio.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

What can I say? Sometimes composite novels work for me, sometimes they don’t. This one????



Me no likey. I’ll gladly take the wrongreader title here, because everyone else looooooved the writing and I felt it was flat. They loooooooved how fresh the story was, but I thought it was stale. They looooooooved all of the social commentary while I thought it was nothing but the usual dose of tragiporn (with an extra helping of 9/11 in case
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A brief novel that starts with a 16 year old putting on a dress that should have been worn by her mother, but wasn't, and the story unfolds from there. This is an author I've always meant to try! I liked how complex her characters are and how their relationships shift in subtle ways. Do you have a favorite Woodson?

The book came out September 17, 2019 and I did have an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley
Diane Barnes
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first Jacqueline Woodson book, and I have to admit, she's quite the storyteller. In just a little under 200 pages, she gives us the family history of Melody, a child who could have been aborted but was not; her mother, Iris, who could have lost her way, but did not; her father Aubrey, who chose to stay; and grand-parents who learned to take the blows of life and roll on. Beautiful and uplifting, I think it should be required school reading for all teen-agers, but know it won't be ...more
Lisa
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elegaic and searing, this novel grabbed hold of me and didn't let go until the last word. Woodson writes in concentrated strokes that capture the essence of Iris, Aubrey, Melody, Sabe, Po'Boy and CathyMarie. I feel that I've known them and cared about them all for years. Just 196 pages and I didn't need a single word more. Perfect.
Betsy Robinson
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Betsy by: Debbie
About halfway through this multigenerational story about a black family, Iris, the daughter, remembers when she was twelve, yelling at her mother: That’s your history, not mine! Her mother goes silent, stunned, then confused, then in tears, responds, You’re right, Iris. . . It’s not yours. (105) And then later in life when Iris is thinking about her baby’s grandmother, CathyMarie (the father’s mother) who once told her to do something with her life, that she had no excuse not to because Nothing’ ...more
BookOfCinz
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,
...more
Linda
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yowzers.

Red at the Bone places powerful words upon your heart. Jacqueline Woodson has a superb talent for bring pain, frustration, sorrow, and triumph to the surface. But it's gonna take a bite out of you. A large bite......a worthy, worthy bite.

The white dress lay upon the bed unworn and so distant in the mind of sixteen year old Melody as she prepares for her coming-of-age ceremony. This was her momma's dress filled with promise and a vision of the future. But just like the threads sewn
...more
Judy
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh I think this book will win awards! Beautifully written story that delves into a family's relationships among one another and the history that brings them into what they are - their roots. Full of flawed characters who, through time and living have made their way in life. Their interwoven dreams and realities laid bare. A highly emotional, character-driven story. Although it is a short book, it is filled with a message and hope.

Thanks to Jacqueline Woodson and Edelweiss for an advance copy in
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Three Rivers Regi...: February 2020 - Red at the Bone 2 8 Feb 10, 2020 05:31AM  
2020 Reading Chal...: Red at the Bone 15 75 Jan 27, 2020 12:27AM  
The WITTY Book Cl...: *** #17: Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson *** 13 25 Jan 26, 2020 04:01PM  
Nubian Circle Boo...: Red at the Bone 1 7 Dec 23, 2019 01:10PM  
Slay Girl Slay Bo...: What Did You Think? 1 14 Nov 10, 2019 11:24AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dutch House
  • The Water Dancer
  • Nothing to See Here
  • Such a Fun Age
  • All This Could Be Yours
  • Olive, Again
  • The Nickel Boys
  • The Revisioners
  • How We Fight For Our Lives
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
  • Dominicana
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • The World That We Knew
  • In the Dream House
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had
  • The Secrets We Kept
  • Disappearing Earth
  • The Giver of Stars
See similar books…
5,198 followers
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
...more
“Fast nights make long days,” 4 likes
“Does it sound crazy to say I looked at her and saw the world falling into some kind of order that I didn’t even know it was out of?” 3 likes
More quotes…