Salvage the Bones
From the critics
This was a very difficult book to read. There’s poverty, there’s neglect, there’s dog fighting, and there’s impending tragedy. Then there are the victims fighting against poverty the only way they know how, there are children caring for one another in the absence of caring adults, there’s the beauty of a loving and loyal dog. And then tragedy still. I rarely seek out author interviews or professional reviews to help me understand. I prefer to let the story tell me what I’m supposed to know. But in the case of Salvage the Bones, reading an interview with Jesmy Ward in "the Paris Review" helped me grasp the importance of her work. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come.
I stumbled through several chunks of Ms. Ward's writing but what kept me engaged were the characters. At first I was just concerned with Esch, the 14 year old female character, dirt poor and pregnant but then China, the family's pit bull became my main concern. If you are a dog lover as I am, this is a very tough read. Both Esch and China are used and abused by men and I just couldn't muster much empathy for the sad, sorry lives of those men, even though I knew they were victims themselves. Did any other readers think of Michael Vick? I know the focus was on hurricane Katrina and the plight of Esch and her brothers but I really focused on China
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