Red At The Bone | Jacqueline Woodson | Book Review

Red At The Bone is less than 200 pages but holds such a poignant story. It involves two very different families who are brought together in an unexpected way. Opening in the year 2001, the families have come together to celebrate a coming of age ceremony; and being in such close proximity to reevaluate how they actually came to this moment in time. Filled with explorations of racism, class, education, parent hood, sexuality, desire, and choices this is an emotional heart warming story.

Red At The Bone moves back and forth between present day and the past. This allows the reader to catch the multiple factors which influenced the dynamics that have been built. And oh are the dynamics intense! Melody is sixteen years old and preparing for her coming in age ceremony. This is a very important tradition in her family and she is going to wear the gown her was supposed to wear herself sixteen years prior but never did. Her mother never was able to wear the dress because she had her own coming of age ceremony and became an adult in the eyes of society by becoming pregnant with Melody.

Melody’s mother Iris and her father Aubrey came from two different backgrounds and wanted completely different things out of life. Yet they are brought together and create this little girl. Their paths go in different directions following the birth and these distinctive help form the identity of a brand new living being. The other things that influence this dynamic is the relationship between Melody’s grandparents Sammy Po’Boy and Sabe. This relationship is solid but also had its trials and tribulations that tested it and it is full of realistic emotions and event’s. All of this filtrates down to Melody and influences her views on this world.

Jacqueline Woodson is such a gifted writer. She has this way with words that even the simplest of sentences can pack a punch. I rely liked the world which she presented with Sammy Po’Boy, Sabrina, Iris, Aubrey, and Melody. These characters have their differences but at the root of everything is love. There is so much love in this story and you can feel it from the moment it starts with Melodu on the stairs for this ceremony. Her journey is just beginning but it is obvious that she will have the support of her family when it happens.

Red At The Bone is a reflection of the journeys and emotions of these characters. Everything is interwoven and the characters and their stories are completely fleshed out. They felt authentic to me a reader. Decisions are made which will affect futures even if they do not realize it as the time. There are memories and connections and truths which kept me completely invested through out. It is a compelling delight from start to finish.

Rating: 4 Stars

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