Red at the Bone
An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
“Jacqueline Woodon's novella RED AT THE BONE is the story of a black American family told through the perspective of 5 people. Vastly different perspectives of the same events (a teenage pregnancy, prejudice, class issues between generations) creates a compelling audiobook. Listening to this book was a delight, as the 5 narrators truly made it a beautiful production. I've never experienced a story like this and was spellbound. Highly recommend.”Rachel, Avid Bookshop
“Wow. Don't let the length fool you - this book is overflowing with heart. An incredibly poignant story of teen pregnancy told from multiple perspectives and timelines, coalescing into something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The narration was superb, lending all the more life to Woodson's characters. ”Britt, Second Star to the Right
“ I thoroughly enjoyed the audio book, partially because Woodson’s writing is a joy to listen to, and partially because the different narrators helped keep the story straight. (I was talking to a co-worker who said she was having trouble with this one because she didn’t know which chapter was from which point of view — Woodson, unlike other writers, doesn’t do any favors by telling us at the outset who is narrating, instead making us do the work of figuring it out.) It was short, and to the point, and I liked listening to this one family’s story through the years.”Melissa, Watermark Books
“How did she manage to create this gorgeous family saga in less than 200 pages? Told through a chorus of five different voices, family members fill in the puzzle of their lives piece by piece and generation by generation. Told out of sequence, we learn how these lives intersected, arrived in Brooklyn, and navigated their way through the racial complexities of the 20th and 21st centuries. We experience how they face timeless issues of family, love, identity, race, and class. The poetic language along with full audio cast makes for a moving and spell-binding listen.”Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
“Although you can read Jacqueline Woodson’s newest novel over the course of one evening, there is nothing breezy about the richness of its story, nothing short about the depth of its characters, nothing quick about the way this book stays with you after you finish reading. Told through five distinct voices, Red at the Bone tracks an African-American family through time and place as an unexpected pregnancy upends and reshapes family and class expectations as well as individual trajectories. Ultimately, the novel is about legacy in every sense of the word. And since Woodson’s writing packs the emotional punch of an epic in a novella number of pages, the legacy of her book is to be read over and over and over again.”Kelly Brown, Magic City Books
Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary 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 this 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 soundtrack 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.
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