Red at the Bone
by Jacqueline Woodson


Overview - Click Here For the Autographed Edition
Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2019 by LitHub and The Millions.

Called one of the Top 10 Literary Fiction titles of Fall by Publishers Weekly.

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.

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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More About Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
 
 
 
Overview
Click Here For the Autographed Edition
Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2019 by LitHub and The Millions.

Called one of the Top 10 Literary Fiction titles of Fall by Publishers Weekly.

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.

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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525535270
  • ISBN-10: 0525535276
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: September 2019
  • Page Count: 208
  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Women
Books > Fiction > African American - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Red at the Bone

Jacqueline Woodson, who is completing her stint as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, returns to her beloved Brooklyn for her second novel for adults, Red at the Bone, which explores the effects of an unplanned pregnancy on an African American family.

The story opens in 2001 at a coming-of-age party at a Brooklyn brownstone. Sixteen and outfitted in her mother’s lace dress with a matching corset, garters and stockings, Melody plans to enter the party to an instrumental version of Prince’s “Nikki,” much to her grandparents’ discomfort. 

But there’s another catch to both the day and the dress. At 15, Melody’s mother, Iris, was pregnant and unable to wear the carefully made dress. Iris’ own coming-of-age birthday was left unmarked, and after her dismissal from private school, the family opted to move to another part of Brooklyn where they could also join a new church. But despite the shame and disruption of baby Melody, Iris was determined to move forward, ultimately getting her high school diploma, enrolling at Oberlin College and moving, almost permanently, out of Melody’s life. 

Over 21 brief chapters, Red at the Bone, which draws its title from the romantic feelings Iris has for another woman at Oberlin, moves backward and forward in time, examining the effect Melody’s birth had on each character, from her disappointed but loving grandparents to her devoted father and his resolute yet fragile mother. Along the way, the reader learns more about the history of the family’s losses, from 9/11 to the Tulsa Race Riots of 1912.

Kin and community have always been of primary concern for Woodson; her National Book Award-winning memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, explored her own childhood transition from Ohio to South Carolina and then New York. Her books combine unique details of her characters’ lives with the sounds, sights and especially music of their surroundings, creating stories that are both deeply personal and remarkably universal.

Though Red at the Bone lacks the cohesion of Woodson’s previous work, this lyrical, lightly told coming-of-age story is bound to satisfy.

 
BAM Customer Reviews