[[ EPUB ]] ✼ Sing, Unburied, Sing Author Jesmyn Ward – Stevemiddleton.info
Jesmyn Ward S First Novel Since Her National Book Award Winning Salvage The Bones, This Singular American Writer Brings The Archetypal Road Novel Into Rural Twenty First Century America An Intimate Portrait Of A Family And An Epic Tale Of Hope And Struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing Journeys Through Mississippi S Past And Present, Examining The Ugly Truths At The Heart Of The American Story And The Power And Limitations Of Family Bonds Jojo Is Thirteen Years Old And Trying To Understand What It Means To Be A Man He Doesn T Lack In Fathers To Study, Chief Among Them His Black Grandfather, Pop But There Are Other Men Who Complicate His Understanding His Absent White Father, Michael, Who Is Being Released From Prison His Absent White Grandfather, Big Joseph, Who Won T Acknowledge His Existence And The Memories Of His Dead Uncle, Given, Who Died As A Teenager His Mother, Leonie, Is An Inconsistent Presence In His And His Toddler Sister S Lives She Is An Imperfect Mother In Constant Conflict With Herself And Those Around Her She Is Black And Her Children S Father Is White She Wants To Be A Better Mother But Can T Put Her Children Above Her Own Needs, Especially Her Drug Use Simultaneously Tormented And Comforted By Visions Of Her Dead Brother, Which Only Come To Her When She S High, Leonie Is Embattled In Ways That Reflect The Brutal Reality Of Her Circumstances When The Children S Father Is Released From Prison, Leonie Packs Her Kids And A Friend Into Her Car And Drives North To The Heart Of Mississippi And Parchman Farm, The State Penitentiary At Parchman, There Is Another Thirteen Year Old Boy, The Ghost Of A Dead Inmate Who Carries All Of The Ugly History Of The South With Him In His Wandering He Too Has Something To Teach Jojo About Fathers And Sons, About Legacies, About Violence, About Love. I washed my hands every day, Jojo But that damn blood ain t never come outSuch a stunning book.Sing, Unburied, Sing captivated me almost instantly THIS is how character driven family dramas should be, and there s nothing quite like a nice bit of dysfunctional family drama to keep me turning pages But I don t want to diminish the strength of this novel It is a character study of a contemporary African American family in Mississippi, but it is also a darkly beautiful story about ghosts In the literal and figurative sense.Ward creates a really strong sense of place I could easily picture this rural poor Southern setting with its history of racial tensions that have never quite gone away From the beginning, I knew this was going to be something special The writing pulls you into this world, into the minds and lives of the vivid characters They burn so brightly The sky has turned the color of sandy red clay orange cream The heat of the day at its heaviest the insects awoken from their winter slumber I cannot bear the world. Into this setting, the author introduces the perspectives of Leonie, a drug addict increasingly haunted by the ghost of her brother, Given, who was shot by a white football player The other main perspective is Leonie s teen son, Jojo, who is of a parent to his young sister than Leonie has ever been They live with Leonie s parents known throughout as Mam and Pop the former ravaged by chemo, and the latter haunted by the ghosts of his own dark past.Many stories from the past emerge through Mam and Pop, including the story of young Richie, a prisoner from Pop s tales of his time in jail Richie also occasionally takes the narrative in between Pop s revelations about the horrors inside Mississippi State Penitentiary, and the gradually uncovered truth of Richie s fate.It is rich in glorious, horrific detail from the very opening when Jojo assists Pop in gutting a goat Ward evokes emotions with description the grisly unravelling of the goat s innards, Leonie s dreamy drug induced escapes, the sticky, swampy atmosphere The I read, the I felt the air clinging to my skin, and the I felt the characters getting under it Sing, Unburied, Sing is a story both dark and bright Issues of race, death and extremely messy family dynamics are prominent features, but the brightness is obtained from the author s overwhelming empathy for her characters, even at their worst Leonie is a terrible mother, but she is portrayed as nothing or less than a messed up human being Pop s history will paint him in an increasingly unflattering light, but do we forgive him Of course we do.A gorgeous though dark story for anyone who loves complex families and messy, lovable characters It deserves every bit of the hype.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube 2 stars blame it on the ghostsIt was the ghosts, folks It was the ghosts that made me do it They made me change my mind and go with 2 stars instead of my original 3 It s just that they were such a big part of this book If they had been smaller and kept their mouths shut, I would be handing you 3 stars I wanted to be closer in stars to my gushing friends, but that just didn t happen I didn t like this book, period And of course, I have a Complaint Board to prove it I did like a few things about the book, so let me start with the Joy Jar Mesmerizing language For a while, it took me to a cool place and created a strong mood Intense family I was interested in the family It s biracial, with a junkie mom, nice kids, kind grandparents, and a dad who just got out of prison They are poor and they live in the deep South He said, she said I liked the format of having two narrators who alternated chapters.Jojo was a nice kid One of the main characters, a 12 year old boy named Jojo, was super well drawn and sympathetic An intense car ride, punctuated by a lot of puke Yes, seldom do you see the word puke in the Joy Jar There was a harrowing road trip, which had me twitching with interest and fear Nearly half the book took place in a claustrophobic car full of sweat, vomit, and tension Inside were two poor kids and three drug addicted adults.But my Complaint Board is way fuller Here goes Sure, I ve always wanted to hear the gory details of a goat being slaughtered The very first scene, POW, a grandpa is showing his grandson how to kill and gut a goat Seriously I had to skip pages, it was so graphic The boy then carried goat parts into the house where these parts would be cooked and served for din din This scene threw me for a loop and I became very wary of what I was signing up for I will say that that was the only slaughter scene, but still what a way to start a book I know the author was going for authenticity yes, they are ruggedly poor people who eat goat but I do think the story would have been just fine without this scene.Get real They would if they could, but ghosts just can t get real Okay, I try to like ghosts and occasionally I can , but here they chased me right out of town I just can t shut up about these annoying ghosts, can I They are major characters here and I just wanted to shove them out of the book They took up a lot of space There were two of them one for each main character sitting in the back seat of a car or just walking around outside in general getting in the way of the real people And of course, there were entire conversations that took place between the ghosts and the main characters To make matters worse, the ghosts sometimes had their own chapters Oh no , I yelled, as I saw the ghost s name head the chapter I wanted to get back to the real story Real people Never mind that they are characters, lol, not real people Hm.if it had been a ghost who slaughtered the goat, would I have been less upset Lol, you have to wonder I like the scenery, but can we talk This is where the language did a little overkill in the mesmerizing department Rich language often turns into work for me when a lot of it is used to describe scenery I prefer dialogue, internal monologue, and drama Character clich s Except for Jojo, the characters just seemed to be stereotypes the junkie mom, the kind granddad I didn t feel any attachment.A little woo woo makes me weary Besides the ghosts, which were bad enough, there were magic herbs and an overall woo woo feel Let me out of here.Where did these big words that begin with i come from Here we are in the rural south with little education, and occasionally big words SAT vocabulary words with 4 or 5 syllables come out of the characters mouths Twelve year old Jojo, his junkie mom, and even a ghost uttered one of these three words inexorably, indomitable, immolating What I don t even use these words In fact, I had to look them up And there were several other sophisticated words and sentence structures An editor should have been checking the authenticity of voice better.Drama in the car Quite a tense car ride and except for the ghost squeezed below the seats, I liked it I don t want to give anything away, but based on the tone and content of the story, I thought things were going in a different direction than they did In a way, this seemed anti climactic Hand covering mouth so I don t reveal anything The name game Again, an editorial nit The mom always called her toddler by Michaela her twelve year old son called her Kayla Toward the end, mom was suddenly using Kayla instead This seemed like something the editor missed.Crawling along I found it slow going for most of the read Looking at page numbers is always a bad sign.As I said earlier, this is a book I desperately wanted to love, if for no other reason than to be part of the crowd I do think the writing is brilliant it s just not my cup of tea I liked Ward s earlier award winning book, Salvage the Bones, better, though it still only earned 3 stars from me I m pretty sure I won t try Ward s next one Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy. Beautifully written So many layers I don t know that there is another writer who captures the complexities of the south and the legacies of racism as well as Ward This is a brilliant novel But also, I did want the characters and the overall narrative to be fully developed, or perhaps multi dimensional An absolute must read, regardless.