Salvage the Bones

A Novel

Ward, Jesmyn

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Salvage the Bones
Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608195220
Characteristics: 261 p. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Dec 19, 2014

A masterful book about a tight-knit African American family living as best they can and facing the onset of Hurricane Katrina. The unity and bond between family members is very uplifting and memorable, along with the close friends of the children. I look forward to more writing by Jesmyn Ward.

Jan 22, 2014
  • JCLHelenH rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was a very difficult book to read. There’s poverty, there’s neglect, there’s dog fighting, and there’s impending tragedy. Then there are the victims fighting against poverty the only way they know how, there are children caring for one another in the absence of caring adults, there’s the beauty of a loving and loyal dog. And then tragedy still.

I rarely seek out author interviews or professional reviews to help me understand. I prefer to let the story tell me what I’m supposed to know. But in the case of Salvage the Bones, reading an interview with Jesmy Ward in "the Paris Review" helped me grasp the importance of her work. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come.

Jan 11, 2014

Beautifully written. The author is extremely talented. The story can be seen as cruel which it is but the relationship between the young boy and his dog and between siblings grabs the heart.

Mar 31, 2013
  • callaottawa rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Cannot even remember anything about this book despite having finished it.....yikes!

Mar 15, 2013

I stumbled through several chunks of Ms. Ward's writing but what kept me engaged were the characters. At first I was just concerned with Esch, the 14 year old female character, dirt poor and pregnant but then China, the family's pit bull became my main concern. If you are a dog lover as I am, this is a very tough read. Both Esch and China are used and abused by men and I just couldn't muster much empathy for the sad, sorry lives of those men, even though I knew they were victims themselves. Did any other readers think of Michael Vick? I know the focus was on hurricane Katrina and the plight of Esch and her brothers but I really focused on China

Oct 22, 2012
  • allietx rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wow. I'm so glad this won the National Book Award, I was absolutely mesmerized by the beauty and menace of this book. I could not put it down, and now I cannot stop thinking about it. Highly recommended.

Oct 17, 2012
  • michellebroome2008 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very disturbing in ways... but worth the read. I really liked the writing style of Ward, but it took me a while to get into the story... Good for book clubs...

Jul 17, 2012
  • rosiebear2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was wonderfully written with beautiful and outrageous characters intertwining in supportive as well as dysfunctional ways in tenuous and dire circumstances. It completely captivated me.

Jun 16, 2012

A vivid, memorable description of living through Hurricane Katrina on the bayou.

Mar 31, 2012

This sounds like a book with such a good message about humanity in it, that I feel guilty that I couldn't get through it. There is a ton of detail that mired down the plot. I couldn't stay engaged enough to enjoy the reading. It felt like work to slog through all the detail to get to the nuggets of good writing. Some of the writing is very poetic and beautiful.

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