National Book Award

All posts in the National Book Award category

Salvage The Bones – Jesmyn Ward

Published January 18, 2013 by bibliobeth


Whats it all about?:

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day.

What did I think?:

Okay, this is a tough one. I was really looking forward to this book having been recommended it by an excellent podcast that I follow (Books on the Nightstand). But I have to say, I was slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is absolutely beautiful and I can see why it won the National Book Award but for me it felt terribly disjointed in some points.

Our main character, a fifteen year old girl called Esch is probably my favourite, The only girl in a family full of men (her mother having died after giving birth to her youngest brother Junior), is ballsy and compassionate. The relationship between all the siblings is very close, and it was touching to read. Esch is in love with Manny, the father of her unborn child who clearly does not give two hoots about her and is only interested in sex. When she bares her soul to the reader and talks about her love for Manny, I found it incredibly moving and poignant.

So yes, some good points, but maybe my expectations were too high as it didn’t quite hit the spot for me.

Would I recommend it?

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art