Wednesday, November 07, 2012

First Wednesday Book Review Club

                                                    Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward

This is one of those books you admire, you are in awe of, yet something about it doesn't quite draw you in. And in this case, it is the hyper-focus on saving newborn puppies for a future in dog fighting that is the problem for me. Now I well understand why this poor black family in the days leading up to Katerina are in the business--they already own a prize winning pit bull. With no mother and an alcoholic father, one brother seizes on this as a solution to their economic plight. These puppies will sell for a a high amount since their mother is a local legend. The fourteen year-old daughter, Esch, tells the story. She is pregnant, and that of course contrasts well with the attempt to save the mother and the new puppies. Ward nails so many things including how a girl that age is more concerned with getting the romantic interest of the father than what lies ahead for her as a teenage Mom. I liked this family; they vibrated with life.

What is most remarkable here is the writing. It is lush, original, gem-like. And the evocation of the storm is brilliant too. A little less talk about birthing puppies might have made this my favorite book of the last six months. As it is, it is still near the top. 

For more book reviews, see Barrie Summy

11 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Oh, that's so interesting that the writing style would draw you in, but the subject matter, not so much. Honestly, I'm not sure it would be my cuppa in terms of the topic. But perhaps I'm being narrow-minded...

Rose said...

I appreciate the recommendation, Patti; the book certainly sounds intriguing because of the style and the setting. But I'm not sure I could get past the dog fighting...

Deb said...

I'm with the previous commentators. Despite being from the southern Louisiana area and someone who lived thru Katrina, as a dog owner, I don't think I could enjoy this book. If only the family had been trying to safeguard something for a less morally-ambiguous reason--but perhaps that was the authir's intention: to show the ambiguity.

Barrie said...

I've had my eye on this book. And now that you've recommended the writing, I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks for joining in, Patti!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I am sure that is the point of it. That this poor family had only valuable dogs to sell to keep afloat.
There are not many actual scenes of dog fighting but it is always the scheme.

Scott Parker said...

Ironic that both our selections this month involved stories with great writing and not-always-great plot.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I will always stick with a story with great writing. But not always one with a great plot. Not sure why.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Not sure this is my cuppa either, esp. because of the dog fighting. Glad you found it worthwhile now. Thanks for dropping by my review.

Sarah Laurence said...

It sounds like a really interesting book, but I too would have had an issue with pitbulls. If there is ever a breed or a sport that should go extinct it would be that.

BTW, the Kingsolver book isn't too depressing. It has hope too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I will give it a try. My book group loves her so we will probably get to it soon.

Kyle Stephen said...

Seems like a good book. Not the dog fighting though.