Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward

  • Release Date: 2011-08-30
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4
From 135 Ratings
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Winner of the 2011 National Book Award

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. While brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting. As the twelve days that comprise the novel's framework yield to the final day and Hurricane Katrina, the unforgettable family at the novel's heart--motherless children sacrificing for each other as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce--pulls itself up to struggle for another day. A wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.


  • Wow

    By Patstonw
    This book gets to you. You will feel the characters bonds and emotions. Truly an amazing book. 5 stars!!!
  • Realistic look at a difficult human condition

    By Soonersusiela
    After picking up this book, i could not put it down until I finished it. Having survived Katrina in much different circumstances, this reminded me that many were not so lucky. The reality for many Americans in the deep south is that they are marginalized and just barely making it day to day. The family portrayed in this book show in a very honest way that although standards of living are subpar, there is still the capacity for love and the desire to survive. While circumstances were different for the Batiste family than the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, I found many parallels to the quiet desperation in these two families. Different times, different challenges, but still that desperate human desire to simply live life, love, and be loved. Kudos to the author for an honest book that led me to a soul searching look at the human condition.
  • Stomach turning

    By Long legion
    I don't like it and I can't really say why. The more I read (and I got about halfway through) the more it just tore my heart out. I am a dog lover and to me it was agony reading this
  • Salvage the Bones

    By alejandra gabrielle
    It was a good book through the middle and it made me want to keep reading but I felt it went no where. I wanted to know what happens next or how she's going to tell her family she's pregnant and it was just so bland. I was reading like 'okay I'm coming towards the end what the heck am I reading all these details for' like it just wasn't a good ending for me.
  • Salvage the Bones - OUTSTANDING

    By Dr.Mrs.Afi
    Salvage the Bones is a vivid portrayal of the life of a motherless, impoverished family living in Louisiana at the time of Hurricane Katrina. As the individual stories of the family members unfold (on the build-up to the hurricane) you get to know them, and begin to love them. They become your family. The alcoholic father is your father, perpetually drunk, but a consummate protecter of the family. You know Esch because, as a female, you once were her; as a male, she was your sister or lover. Whether you believe in dog-fighting or not, you root for Skeetah and China. You love Junior because he is your little brother. you adore Randall because he is your big brother. Nothing I have seen or read since Hurricane Katrina has made that tragic day come to life more. It was as if I lived through the storm and witnessed the fear and destruction myself. The storytelling is some of the best I've read. The language is poetic and lively. BRAVO!
  • 100 Words or Less

    By JRubino
    I tried to push past the beginning chapters but couldn’t. Growing up in the South has tainted novels like this as both too real and too fake. The dialogue, oppressive father figure, poverty, dialect, and onrush of impending emotional wreckage… so much was familiar, yet at the same time so forced. That’s simply because of my background, I admit. The novel is well written. The attention to detail is good. But in the end, there wasn’t any room to breathe here. From the first pages you know where this is going and it ain’t a happy place.