Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

I am a Jacqueline Woodson fan, so I was thrilled when NetGalley gave me the opportunity to review this book. It will be released September 17, 2019, by Riverhead Books. Preorder a copy or two for your library.

The beauty of Jacqueline Woodson's writing always fills me with awe. This book is no exception. It is page after page of breathtakingly beautiful prose.

This story is told from the perspectives of five different characters. Iris and Aubrey are just teens when, at the age of fifteen, they become parents to Melody. Sabe and Sammy “Po’Boy” Simmons are Iris' parents. Through Aubrey and Iris' memories we meet Aubrey's mother. As a reader, characters are everything to me. Woodson's gift is to give us fictional people we can believe in. I ached for all of them within the first few pages.

The narrative moves back and forth in time. It begins with a coming of age celebration for sixteen year old Melody, but goes back to the race riots and bombing of Tulsa in 1921, Iris's teen pregnancy, and forward into the future when only two of them are left. Woodson explores class, racism, sexuality, religion, and ultimately, loving and belonging.

Red at the Bone is a quiet contemplative kind of book. Nothing exciting really happens. It's a slow melancholy reveal with characters showing us: This is who we are. This is our life, our history. This is how we’ve handled the cards we’ve been dealt. This is how we feel.

I promise that you will be right there with them.

I loved everything about this book and you will too. I don't want to hear it if you don't. 


  1. Catching up on my reading posts, Cheriee. The book sounds so good! I am really looking forward to reading it, will have the pleasure at the end of the month of seeing Jaqueline Woodson and purchasing the book at my favorite Indie bookstore!