Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is a brutal novel:
- Teen sex that might not be rape but isn’t exactly consensual
- Dog fights
- Teen pregnancy
- A mom dying in childbirth
- An overwhelmed, distant and alcoholic single father
- Rampant poverty
And then Katrina comes down and blows everything to hell.
It’s a tough read (good thing I didn’t read it; the audiobook was very well done). But it’s also got heart. It won the 2011 National Book Award and there is some light that shines through the darkness: the language was poetic, the 14-year-old pregnant narrator loved the Greek myth of Jason and Medea, and when the action did pick up it had a great pace and feel.
But getting through it all was tough.
Sometimes books are like that. Sometimes life is like that.