Red At The Bone
I struggle to write a review of this book, RED AT THE BONE. Having listened to every word, I feel as though I have many snippets of what the book is about – love, family, history, sex, coming of age, 9/11, fate, freedom, racism.
But a coherent theme? I just don’t know. Individual moments grabbed me, but not the whole. Maybe that was the author’s goal – to offer snapshots of life? The world presented here is black. But much of what I read could have applied to any race.
I reviewed this author’s ANOTHER BROOKLYN a while back and have only now, at this point in reviewing her new book, reread my review of that one. I am stunned at how similar my two reviews are. This may well be my own personal failing. Perhaps I’m simply not the target audience for Ms. Woodson’s work? Perhaps I look for other things when I read?
It may also be a generational thing. I loved the older characters, found them far more sympathetic and warm and deep than the younger ones. One of the latter, central to the story, is a mom who chooses to leave her daughter for others to raise. I struggled with this. I think that at the end of the book there was a resolution to the mother-daughter disdain. But I’m not entirely sure.
Make no mistake about it. The writing is breathtakingly beautiful. So, while I appreciate Ms. Woodson’s immense talent as a wordsmith, I can’t say that her book worked for me as a novel.