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 author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
Jacqueline Woodson begins her powerful new novel audaciously, with the word 'But.' Well, there are no buts about this writer's talent ... Woodson continues her sensitive exploration of what it means to be a black girl in America ... an exquisitely wrought tale ... should win Woodson plenty of new fans. It reads like poetry and drama, a cry from the heart that often cuts close to the bone. The narrative nimbly jumps around in time and shifts points of view among five characters who span three generations as it builds toward its moving climax. 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 — yet never feels like a checklist of Important Issues ... There isn't a character in this book you don't come to care about, even when you question their choice ... Woodson's language is beautiful throughout Red at the Bone, but it positively soars in the sections written from Iris' mother's point of view. Readers mourning the death of Toni Morrison will find comfort in Sabe's magnificent cadences as she rues her daughter's teen pregnancy ... With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen — even further into the ranks of great literature.
... profoundly moving ... urgent, vital insights into questions of class, gender, race, history, queerness and sex in America ... part of the miracle of Red at the Bone is its evident, steady respect for Iris’s wants, the narrative primacy given to hungers that might not, to many, seem acceptable ... Again and again, in rich detail, Woodson gives life to Iris’s growing desires ... to depict a mother eager to leave her baby is a far less told story, and it’s astonishing, it’s a feat, to see how lovingly, even joyfully, Woodson sees Iris’s desires through ... With its abiding interest in the miracle of everyday love, Red at the Bone is a proclamation.
... as moody, spare, and intense as a Picasso line drawing. In just under 200 pages [Woodson] confronts the indelible marks of youthful indiscretions and the way we explain our adolescence to our adult self in lovely, granular mise-en-scènes ... The beauty of this work is in its velvety shifts from the past to the present. Woodson shows that to understand the soul of a woman, we must understand the heart of the girl she once was ... This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and its legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters. There is pain on these pages, but hope glimmers between the lines. If trauma is a cursed heirloom handed down through the decades, maybe love is the cure passed upward from the young to the old, a bright promise that gleams like a hidden bar of gold.