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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.
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.
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!
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.
An amazing, beautifully written book about a multigenerational family. I loved it.
Found this book difficult to follow. Such an excellent premise, but I didn’t find it well written. Truthfully, it was confusing with the going back and forth in time,
I am such a fan of Jacqueline Woodson. Solid stories- never under or over told, relatable and interesting characters, perfectly lyrical writing... every single time. This may be my favorite yet. Still thinking about it, wondering how Melody and Iris are doing now.
Red at the Bone begins in 2001 and introduces us to three generations: 16-year-old Melody, who is getting ready for her coming-of-age ceremony; Melody's mother Iris and father Aubrey, who were 16 when Melody was born; and Iris and Aubrey's parents, some of whom are not present at the ceremony. Woodson's narrative moves back and forth through time so we can meet all of these family members - we're present at the moment of Melody's conception; at the moment when Iris' mother realizes her teenage daughter wants to keep her child; and at the end of several lives. These stories intertwine to deliver a beautiful, poignant portrait of a family - a surprisingly in-depth portrait, given the length of the book.
There's not much more that needs to be said about this wonderful novel - the writing is superb, the story is small in scope but wonderfully intimate, the characters are flawed and vivid. Iris and Aubrey in particular drew me in: their decisions are not predictable, and their relationship felt incredibly realistic to me. I can't wait to read more from Jacqueline Woodson!
THIS BOOK!!!! I read one of Woodson’s other books, Another Brooklyn, last year and really enjoyed it, but this knocked my confident anticipation out of the PARK! IN A GOOD WAY! Like Another Brooklyn, this is a short book filled with poetic imagery and language. The book starts at the coming of age ceremony of 16 year old Melody, our first narrator. We then move through her parents and maternal grandparents, each one giving us a slice of the story, working backwards, forwards, and inwards through time. I could have read an entire book from any one of these characters’ perspectives but am also so glad I got to read them all next to each other, contextualizing one another like a family does. It’s a lovely, perfect book and I already want to reread it.
Commencing at Melody’s sweet 16 party, a party her mother Iris did not have because she was pregnant with Melody, the story is presented in alternate points of view of Melody, her parents Iris and Aubrey and her maternal grandparents Sabe and Po’Boy. Iris pursues a life away from the family and Melody is raised by her dad and grandparents. The prose is spare but it is poetic and wonderfully evocative.
Lovely multi-generational character driven story. Great on audio!
A rich and beautifully written book, told from the perspective of different members of a family. The author allows us to understand each character's point of view, and why they made certain decisions, or what their motivations were. At just under 200 pages, Red to the Bone is the perfect length, never feeling over stuffed or bloated, but rather that every word is important and holds significance. Highly recommend!
Melody, daughter of Iris and Aubrey, granddaughter of Sabe and Po’Boy, comes of age in Brooklyn.
What a writer; what a story. Woodson’s prose reads like poetry. Readers journey through a rich telling of recent African American experience seen through the eyes of one Brooklyn family. Golden.
A thought provoking read. Are daughters doomed to follow their mothers? Is the deprh of the rejection a measure of the love?
A wide-sweeping intergenerational tale told non linearly in lyrical prose. I really connected with the characters and enjoyed reading about how history and community made them who they are.
A New & Noteworthy pick. A book that weaves together the stories of three generations of an African American family showing how their lives come together and fall apart. There is love and loss, light and dark, and simply beautiful writing.
Did not care for this book at all and the style of writing made me feel like it was not a story at all.
A family saga told in lyrical prose that slides from one POV to another and back and forth in time without effort. Included is the 9/11 tragedy and I am o glad I picked it up to read on the 18th anniversary of that day. Explores childbirth, parenting, education, illness, sexuality and economic diversity. Jacqueline Woodson is a master storyteller, packing the past and present of this family into just over 200 pages.
Buzz building for this exploration of multiple generations of a Brooklyn family through an unwanted pregnancy.
Achingly beautiful tale of family woven through time and from many points of view.
Jacqueline Woodson's words stay with you long after you've finished the book.