Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

This is going to be a short review.  I read Salvage the Bones: A Novel because it was a National Book Award winner and I thought it might be a possibility for my senior English class.  In the end, I had a hard time finishing it.

Salvage the Bones is the story of a poor, rural, African-American family in Mississippi who survive Hurricane Katrina.  Somehow, I was not aware that the vast majority of the plot focuses on dog fighting.  The book is extremely graphic, unnecessarily so in many parts, and it made me sick to my stomach.  I finished the book, just barely, and I’m not sure how it won the National Book Award.  The prose is sparse and it’s well-written, but I have a hard time believing it was the most well-written book of the year.  The characters are unlikeable, the story is too graphic, and there was little plot development.

Not for me.  There are plenty of 5-star reviews out there, but there are also a lot of one-star reviews and abandoned reviews.  This book was not for me.

Appropriate for upper YA, possibly some crossover appeal.  Not for younger YA readers.

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