When I closed the book, I was barely breathing. Jesmyn’s writing is so incredible I felt finishing the book’s last chapter was, in some ways, me finishing a chapter of my life. The relationships between each character in Salvage the Bones was so tangible I felt like I was sitting next to Skeetah and his puppies, running in the field with Esch, or hovering over Daddy as he slept cradling his injuries.
Colored by sorrow and shaded by loss, this page turner was a passageway to slip into the delicate corners of a family’s love for each other, their struggle to survive Hurricane Katrina, and the shadows of years of racial and economical injustice.
All in all it’s encouraging to see a book like Salvage the Bones get national recognition and notoriety. As a woman of color, I’m often afraid our stories will not get the same “fair” chance as other stories get to be published and to be read. But, this book proves to me our stories will fall into the ears of the right people at the right time and time will hold still for us. Natasha Tretheway and Jesmyn Ward are two women of color who are holding the world still with their literature which reminds us all to look back at Hurricane Katrina and remember.
For awhile now, I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing a novel or a few shorties about my home town. Initially, I dismissed the thought. But I realized, halfway through this book, I have a story maybe even many stories, that are valuable. They are stories the world needs to hear so it can stop, for a moment, and remember.
So, thank you Jesmyn Ward for encouraging me to pen the story of my people, my family, and my city. We are a flawed people but a people nonetheless. Salvage the Bones was the nudge I needed. After all, aren’t all writers inking our way into history?
If you want to read Jesmyn’s amazing interview with Guerinca Mag, click here.
If you want to watch Jesmyn’s inspirational National Book Award and acceptance speech, click here.
Jesmyn Ward’s latest book Men We Reaped is another book about rural Mississippi and I’ll be reading it very, very soon!