Book Review: Katrina Revisited

Salvage the Bones is a novel by Jesmyn Ward about a family who reside in a fictional Mississippi town in the path of Hurricane Katrina.  The book was first published in 2012.

The story is presented in first person narrative from the perspective of a fifteen year old girl named Esch who gets herself in the predicament of being pregnant,  Ward explores lots of issues with this book.  She touches on all sorts of social topics with this one.  Esch lives with several brothers and a widowed father.  She doesn’t make the safest decisions when it comes to her romantic liaisons.  Esch is a bit complicated, to put it kindly.  Most of the story takes place just before Hurricane Katrina bears down on their community in 2005.

This isn’t my usual sort of choice for my leisure reading.  It’s basically a family drama. Ward is actually a pretty talented writer, however I had some trouble staying interested in the characters since the hurricane’s grand entrance is quite delayed.  Esch spends a lot of time dealing with keeping her pregnancy a secret while coping with the usual physical upheavals that accompanies the condition.

I have to say that I appreciated the book more when I read the interview printed in the back and the brief postscript.  Ward reveals that she actually survived Katrina’s intrusion.  She does have a decent prose style, but I didn’t find her characters all that compelling until the hurricane started pounding away.  I also don’t usually this type of book, so my impressions may be tainted a bit.  I could see why others would like her though, and from what I could see on her cover photo, she looks young enough to get plenty of practice honing her skill.  I may still keep an eye for her other works because she may still have a story that can resonate with me more. Plus I still need to broaden my literary horizons.

Saying that, I will be returning to an author with whom I much more familiar.  I will start off 2020 with Stephen King’s The Outsider.

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