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!
this book left too much unexplained. disappointed.
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.
Wanted to love it but just didn't.
A thought provoking read. Are daughters doomed to follow their mothers? Is the deprh of the rejection a measure of the love?
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