All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

To make it easier to purchase books you may read about on the blog, I've linked to through The Cats and a Book Bookstore, which is located on the bottom of this page. Your purchases are fulfilled and handled through Amazon. To assure your privacy, Cats and a Book doesn't handle any of your payment or contact information.

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, is the 2011 Winner of the National Book Award and is a rich and powerful novel. It is the story of Esch Batiste, her widowed father and three brothers, as they struggle to survive in rural Mississippi.

Esch’s mother dies after the birth of her youngest brother, Junior, and he is raised by the three older children. Randall is striving for a basketball scholarship, and Skeet is raising a pit bull, China, who represents his dreams of dominance in the local dog fighting world.  He is breeding her to sell her puppies, and earn badly needed money for the family. Fourteen-year-old Esch is in love with Manny, who is the father of her unborn baby, but Manny is in love with another and has made it clear to Esch that he doesn’t love her despite her devotion to him. In the meantime, Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the coast, and the Batiste family patriarch gives the family directions: fill the truck with gas, fill the tub and sinks with water, cook the food in the refrigerator, buy canned goods, board the windows. But these efforts aren’t enough when the category five storm bears down on their home, and they barely escape with their lives.

Ward’s storytelling skills are exceptional, with characters and a story so realistic that feels like it could be a documentary. The truth isn’t pretty, but Ward's characters are strong and they are survivors. Salvage the Bones was published in 2011 by Bloomsbury, USA. 

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