Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Expected publication: November 2nd, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Modern Literature, Adult
* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
This is such a different and amazing book! It’s not the type of books I normally go for but I loved the premises and I loved reading it.
The characters are so well done! They are realistic, interesting, the development is amazing, … It was just so interesting to read about their lives, especially since it was the most dysfunctional family I’ve read about!
This story follows Leonie’s perspective and Jojo’s perspective (her son). They are African-American and they live in Mississipi, on a farm. They are quite poor, but as if that was not enough in a family of 5, Leonie’s mom has cancer, her dad is trying to compensate and doing everything he can at home, Leonie is a drug addict and she has a son and a baby daughter. Plus the father of the kids is in prison. Sounds promising, right?!
This novel is dark, tense and extremely unique. The plot is amazing but the writing takes it on a whole other level. I absolutely loved how the writing made me connect so much with the characters and how realistic it made it feel.
There are two things that really touched me. One is about Jojo. From the very beginning of the book – and believe me, it starts already incredible and quite gruesome – I loved him. He is a very special kid, that has to grow up a lot faster, who sees his grandparents as his actual parents and who has to compensate his mother’s absence and also take care of his little sister. It was touchy! My heart felt squeezed with how beautiful yet unfair and hard the situation was.
The other has to be how interesting it was to read about Leonie and her struggle with her drug addiction. Every time she used drugs she saw her dead brother, Given. He was shot by a white guy for winning a football game. It was emotional and hard to see. I really started to understand her, even tho I still didn’t agree with a lot of things. Sometimes I really hated her, but I also felt compassion for her…
I also obviously loved Mam and Pop. They are amazing. It was hard to read about Mam, but I loved Pop with all my heart. How hard and strict he was but at the same time, he had a buttered heart. I loved his relationship with Jojo.
This book talks about racism in a very unique and powerful way. It deals with family struggles, drug addiction, cancer, pregnancy at a young age and domestic violence. The family dynamic is amazing, the writing is amazing and the theme is just incredibly important!
It’s just an incredible and utterly strong novel. It’s meaningful, interesting, intense, sometimes even hard to read. It will touch if not break your heart.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!