Dana's Reviews > Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
10503220
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, traveling-sisters-read, botm

4.5 stars ~

Salvage the Bones is a simple, yet powerful story about a poor black family living in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. The story is broken into twelve chapters - the twelve days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

The narrator is fifteen year old Esch. Much of the story centers around her coming of age - being motherless and among all males. Esch is living in poverty (on a junkyard called The Pit) with a father who drinks too much, one brother raising a pit bull for fighting, and two other brothers as they brace for the hurricane in their path - each living with challenges of their own. This is a story about familial love - each doing the best they can, living in wretched conditions and the lengths they will go to protect and sacrificing for one another.

Knowing that the author, Jesmyn Ward, lived through Hurricane Katrina makes the story even more meaningful to me. Having just left New Orleans the week before Katrina hit, I sat watching it all on television in disbelief and terrible sadness. I couldn't fathom why these people didn't evacuate. This story really opened my eyes - and my heart! For so many, they had no choice. They had no where to go; no way to leave. Ward answers a lot of these question and gives her own account of those days during Hurricane Katrina. She also write about pit bulls, as her family owned one that was meaningful to her.

I absolutely love Ward’s style of writing. The lyrical, poetic prose she uses awakens all my senses when reading a book and adds so much depth. Maybe that’s not always a pleasant thing....as there are a lot of unsavory moments in the book. Others have not always been as successful at this style of writing for me, but I find her to use it brilliantly. I found myself pausing numerous times just to visualize and re-read her words. Just lovely, even in this savage situation. Ward says she used the word Salvage in the title because it sounded so much like savage, "to remind readers what this family, and people like this family, are left with after tragedy."

These characters, and their story, will stay with me a long, long while!!

*There are some horrific animal scenes in this book - one I admit to skimming heavily. This was a Traveling Sisters read and some could not finish the book due to them, so be forewarned. I am not sure I find these scenes necessary, so I took off a half star for that. I can only think Ward wanted us to see that we should not judge pit bulls anymore than we should judge those who were not able to evacuate the hurricane. Possibly, that was her message?
48 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Salvage the Bones.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

March 6, 2018 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 13, 2018 – Finished Reading
March 17, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites
March 17, 2018 – Shelved as: traveling-sisters-read
September 9, 2018 – Shelved as: botm

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen I'm liking that 4.5!


Dana Jen wrote: "I'm liking that 4.5!"

It was a very moving and powerful book! I hope you get the chance to read it.


Jennifer Magnificent review. I read this one years ago and still remember how good it was. Glad you liked it.


message 4: by Dana (last edited Mar 16, 2018 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Jennifer wrote: "Magnificent review. I read this one years ago and still remember how good it was. Glad you liked it."

Thanks, Jennifer! You were actually the person that mentioned this book to me...so I asked the group if they wanted to read it. I should have given you credit for that! Thank you for leading me to a great story that will stay with me for a long time.


message 5: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Wonderful review Dana. Eek about the animal scenes :(. Glad you enjoyed this despite that!


Dana Thanks, Kendall! Loving dogs, I could have gone without them, but I did enjoy the book.


Melanie Good to see the high rating. I have made it to chapter 8 and so far I am really liking it. I have not gotten to the dog fight yet. I will have to see if I can read it or need to skim. I am hoping to finish the weekend.


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Wonderful review, Dana! You highlighted the beauty in this book! I had to abandon it myself on audio because of the dog/puppy parts. It was too hard to skip over. But I value what you said about the message. I love pit bulls without question just like any other dog, but I know they are vilified many times. Absolutely loved your review.


Angela M Dana, a fantastic review . I read this quite while ago and was as moved as you were .


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Wonderful review Dana! I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much. 😊💕💜


message 11: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Melanie wrote: "Good to see the high rating. I have made it to chapter 8 and so far I am really liking it. I have not gotten to the dog fight yet. I will have to see if I can read it or need to skim. I am hoping t..."

That was the chapter I skimmed, Melanie! I was going to wait for you, but didn’t see you have it listed as started...and once I started back, couldn’t put it down. I look forward to your thoughts!


message 12: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader wrote: "Wonderful review, Dana! You highlighted the beauty in this book! I had to abandon it myself on audio because of the dog/puppy parts. It was too hard to skip over. But I value what you said about th..."

Thanks, Jennifer! I understand you having to stop. The were some brutal parts. 😔


message 13: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Angela M wrote: "Dana, a fantastic review . I read this quite while ago and was as moved as you were ."

Thanks, Angela! Yes, it was a very moving book indeed.


message 14: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Lindsay wrote: "Wonderful review Dana! I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much. 😊💕💜"

Thanks, Lindsay! 💕


message 15: by Jaline (new) - added it

Jaline Lovely review, Dana. I find it hard sometimes to read graphic or brutal parts in books, too. However, I am getting braver as time goes on. Sticking my head in the sand and pretending they don't happen hasn't helped the problems in the world, so I may as well try to understand the problems more fully.


Cathrine ☯️ Love your enthusiasm Dana. I decided to pass on this one because of those "horrific scenes." That's where I draw my line.


message 17: by Karen (new)

Karen Really great review Dana! I keep adding and removing this!


message 18: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Fantastic review, Dana! I will have to pass only because of the warning. Thank you for that! ❤️


message 19: by Dana (last edited Mar 16, 2018 08:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Thank you, Jaline, Cathrine, Karen and Jennifer! I couldn’t stomach some of those moments, but my overall take away from the book was compassion. I’m so glad I did finally read it...but I totally understand your reservations. It certainly didn’t softening me to animal fighting, nor did I feel any compassion around that. I still feel as strongly against it as I originally did. There was a very strong bond between the young boy and the dog that was very moving, but the fighting could have been left out. I guess it was a part of the author’s life that she felt important to write about. I feel this book was about so much more than that, and so beautifully written, but I did debate on rounding up or down for that.....


message 20: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi Excellent review, Dana! This one is on my list :)


message 21: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil Lovely review, Dana. I need to get to this one.


message 22: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Thanks, Candi and Esil! I look forward to your thoughts if you get to it!


JanB Dana, I will be back to read your review when I finish mine - but I do have to say I am so glad we were able to read this together. Wonderful discussion!


message 24: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Beautiful, compassionate and thought-provoking review. I couldn't get past the goat scene in Sing, Unburied, Sing, so this would definitely scar me for life.


message 25: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Excellent review!!!


message 26: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana JanB wrote: "Dana, I will be back to read your review when I finish mine - but I do have to say I am so glad we were able to read this together. Wonderful discussion!"


I enjoyed it, too, Jan!


message 27: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Victoria wrote: "Beautiful, compassionate and thought-provoking review. I couldn't get past the goat scene in Sing, Unburied, Sing, so this would definitely scar me for life."

Thank you, Victoria! Yes, it might be best if you skipped this one if SUS was tough. There are some tough scenes. 😔


message 28: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Deanna wrote: "Excellent review!!!"

Thanks, Dee! :)


message 29: by Cheri (new) - added it

Cheri Wonderful review, Dana, I can't wait to read this one, myself.


back to top