Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608195220
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ward Jesmyn 08/2011
Characteristics: 261 p. ;,22 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Black History Month

"A 2011 National Book Award Winner, Salvage the Bones chronicles a 12-day period in which a poor Mississippi family faces the looming threat of a hurricane. With no mother, a drunken father, a pregnant 14-year-old, and wayward brothers, they have little access to helpful resources—except for... Read More »

Contemporary Fiction

JCLEmilyD May 11, 2017

This story sticks with you. It's about poverty, teenagers, family, dogs, love, and hurricanes. Written as a family works to prepare for the coming hurricane Katrina. Along with poverty and absent parents the children deal with teenage pregnancy and a dying litter of puppies. The impending tragedy... Read More »

JCLHelenH Jan 22, 2014

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 bea... Read More »

JCLMELODYK Mar 15, 2013

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, thi... Read More »

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Hillsboro_JeanineM Feb 08, 2021

You slide into this story and are immersed in the waters of Jesmyn Ward's writing. You may gasp for air or need a break after a very intense event (Trigger Warning: Dog fighting is integral to the story). She creates twelve days in the lives of a family living in Mississippi as Katrina becomes a Category 5 heading for them. Ward draws on her personal history of Katrina and a previous Category 5 storm, Camille, as oral history passed down to through her family.

Nov 15, 2020

Captivating exploration of the relationships between four siblings, a dog, and the father. Beautiful book! Left me wanting more.

May 08, 2020

I lived on the Mississippi coast shortly after hurricane Katrina. I thought this book would provide some of the struggles the residents encountered but also the resilience of the people and the beauty of the area. The author seems to write well but the subject is too close to the reality of life in Mississippi, IMO. Anyone who has lived in the most disadvantaged state in the USA knows first hand about poverty, ignorance, the adoration of dog fighting, and other depressing facts. If you like that sort of reality in what you read then it might be a good story, but not for me. I stopped reading after about 20 pages.

Apr 06, 2020

Ward’s writing is absolutely gorgeous; vivid and precise imagery fills up every page, and every character was both fully realized and mysterious in their own way. Esch (the protagonist and narrator) and her brothers and friends are all unique and interesting and I deeply cared about them all immensely and immediately.

Mar 21, 2020

National Book Award winner for fiction. Story of a black family living in Mississippi's coastal back country over a period of weeks as hurricane Katrina arrives. Told in the voice of a pregnant teenager. Disappointing story because the majority of the book is about a boy and his fighting pit bull.

Jan 10, 2020

2011 National Book Award Winner

Jan 03, 2020

Incredible book. Very eye-opening.

Nov 06, 2019

Pit bulls fighting and slobber kissing..... unwed teen pregnancy.......alcoholism......poverty.......abuse......death.......Spam and cracker diet......mosquitoes.......houses collapsing......front yard junk to top it all off, redemption in the form of a horrific hurricane. Guess that’s what they liked in 2011—national book award. I think it will take me about 48 hours to forget this tale.

Oct 06, 2019

Don't read this book if you get depressed easily. It seems every turn they make ends up in hopeless disaster. The dog fighting is horrible!

OPL_AnnaW Sep 05, 2019

I love most things Jesmyn Ward writes, and this is no exception. The family at the heart of this book lives in rural Mississippi, and the threat of Hurricane Katrina is looming. The experiences of Esch, the only female in the family, are described in beautiful, relatable ways. I devoured this book, and wanted to know what would become of these vivid characters in their post-hurricane lives.

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Dec 27, 2018

Where my brothers go, I follow.


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