AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“An exquisite tale of family legacy….The power and poetry of Woodson’s writing conjures up Toni Morrison.” – People
“In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss….With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen — even further into the ranks of great literature.” – NPR
“This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters.” –Tayari Jones, bestselling writer of An American Marriage, in O Magazine
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning writer of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that in the end never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people will have to so incessantly make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they need to be.
An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: Like many others, I am at all times in awe when I read Jacqueline Woodson. She’s the writer of more than two dozen award-winning and bestselling books, and every time I open to the first page I fall into a trance. All of the noise rushes away and what’s left is her melodic prose that waxes in and out of generations so seamlessly that, in relation to Red at the Bone, you’ve just been told the life story of a daughter, her parents, her grandparents, a teenage pregnancy, and a white dress that belonged to each of them. Her writing is tender, but strong, eloquently guiding the reader through the lineage of how hopes are born and once in a while dashed, how neighborhoods gentrify, how mistakes are made and lives are created. Red at the Bone is life-affirming and another fantastic novel by Jacqueline Woodson. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review