Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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"Gorgeous, moving...A story of love—romantic and familial—and alienation, grief and triumph, disaster and survival." — Nylon "To understand the soul of a woman, we must understand the heart of the girl she once was... This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters. There is pain on these pages but hope glimmers between the lines." –Tayari Jones, bestselling author of An American Marriage , in O Magazine Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Parade, Vox, Time and more 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: [Place of publication not identified] :, [publisher not identified],, 2019
ISBN: 9780525535294
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rdaft

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From Library Staff

Historical Fiction. Recommended by Jennifer and Shelly.

As Melody celebrates a coming of age ceremony at her grandparents' house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody's own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel that directly addresses the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. (Literary Fiction, for adults)

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Jan 22, 2021

There's a common saying, "Good things come in small packages,” and RED AT THE BONE proves it. Author Jacqueline Woodson packs a lot in this multi-generational family drama. The characters seem all too real, raw, and authentic. Their stories are presented in a series of intimate snapshots over time. Warning: This book contains strong language and themes surrounding class, race, teen pregnancy, sexuality, drug use, history, and death. RED AT THE BONE isn’t what I typically read, but I’m so glad I did. Woodson’s beautiful minimalist prose is the perfect vehicle for this remarkable novel.

Jan 20, 2021

I found this book to be really strange. It kept flipping perspectives from different family members and timelines and I found it hard to follow. I think if it had said who was speaking and if it had followed a more linear timeline it would have been better. I don't understand the point behind it, why we had to get each person's view of different events, and even at the end I didn't feel there was any sort of conclusion.

Dec 24, 2020

A slim volume set in Brooklyn in 2001. It tells the story of a middle class family whose daughter, at age 15, has a baby with a boy from a poor family. The story is told from the perspective of each of the main characters. Quite well done

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Jan 22, 2021

“She felt red at the bone—like there was something inside of her undone and bleeding.” - p. 162

Jan 22, 2021

“Guess that's where the tears came from, knowing that there's so much in this great big world that you don't have a single ounce of control over. Guess the sooner you learn that, the sooner you'll have one less heartbreak in your life.” - p. 49


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