Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A spectacular novel that only this legend can pull off." -Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, in The Atlantic

"An exquisite tale of family legacy....The power and poetry of Woodson's writing conjures up Toni Morrison." – People


"In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss....With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen — even further into the ranks of great literature." – NPR

"This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters." –Tayari Jones, bestselling author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, in O Magazine
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 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 brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony— a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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hteshomee
Sep 27, 2020

If I didn’t read 2 other books in between this, this book probably would have gotten 5 stars.

I am /in loooove/ with the characters. They are all heart. I read the last 40% of the book in one sitting and damn near cried.
Somehow, I relate to all the characters. I have nothing in common with them outside of gender, living in America, and being a daughter—yet, I feel each of their hearts heavily in this short book.

Definitely buying this book and will reread countless times throughout my life.

w
wmtlady
Sep 08, 2020

Jacqueline Woodson never disappoints. This book (her latest?) book was exceptionally skillful at communicating the life experiences of not only individuals but the heritage of whole communities of "people of color" or different ethnic background in contrast to the larger, empowered community. It was at times enlightening, overwhelming, and amazing. Woodson was open and frank in her depiction of various characters and their motivations in life; I could not relate to some of them because of my different experiences and culture but I was enabled to understand them better, rather than stand apart from them in criticism.

l
lenoragoessling
Jun 21, 2020

Edmonds library display during June 2020

JCLHebahA May 13, 2020

I'm an unapologetic genre fiction reader, so literary books with meandering character studies in place of plot are not quite my jam. That said, I enjoyed the characters and the linking of the trauma of the Tulsa race riots with that of 9/11, and I think this would make a compelling book group read, especially clocking in at just under 200 pages for busy months when reading time is at a premium.

IndyPL_LindsayH Apr 08, 2020

This beautiful text is about a mother who doesn`t want to be one, a child who yearns for a mother, and parents who hope for a different life. Alternating between five voices Red at the Bone tells a tale of a family in the past and present reflecting on where they came from and how they evolve.

Hopefully when you pick this book up you have time to devour it one day because it will consume you. The words, images, and stories Jacqueline Woodson created will leave you coming back for more.

m
msdelrios
Mar 24, 2020

March 2020

JCLChrisK Mar 23, 2020

A book about life. About lives. About love and loss and success and regret and family. Captured beautifully in a slim series of meditations by one family about who they are, apart and together. It is life.

LPL_ShirleyB Mar 20, 2020

Compelling historical fiction in vivid storytelling and beautifully shared memories from three generations of an African American family. This is my first time reading Jacqueline Woodson, but now I'm compelled to revel in all her writing as soon as possible!
Thanks to Ian for this recommendation!

b
BioCook
Mar 19, 2020

I read this book in a day and couldn’t put it down. Fantastic work well worth the read! I loved getting to know every character at different time points. The format reminded me of “Normal People” by Sally Rooney - however, “Red at the Bone” was 100% more digestible and enjoyable. I have to admit there were times when I started getting confused on who was who during dialogue, but I eventually pieced it together.

l
Llaureys66
Feb 20, 2020

An amazing, beautifully written book about a multigenerational family. I loved it.

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