Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward | Book Review

Rating: 9/10

Format: Audio-Book – Library

Buy it Here:   Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel

I just finished my review of Nemsin’s “The Fifth Season,” and gushed that it had everything anyone could want in a SciFi/Fantasy novel. Well, this book has everything you could want in a family drama: a road trip, drugs, death, ghosts, and a whole cast of fascinating, masterfully fleshed out characters.  Don’t take my word for it; this book is on a bazillion “Best of 2017” lists, and I am guessing it’ll end up on my eventual “Favorites of 2018” list.

This book was overwhelming. I’m going with that first and foremost. So much of it takes place in a cramped car, so much of it is dark, so much of it is just plain intense. There’s a slight fantasy(?) aspect to it as well. It’s clear in the book that ghosts are real, since several characters see several different ghosts.

It’s truly hard to know what to say about this book. It was painful, it was fascinating, it was beautiful. I cried. So I’ll do my best to share my thoughts.

Our main protagonist is Jojo, who’s that special age where he’s not quite a child, and not quite an adult. Of course, his mother, (whom he calls by her first name) is absent at best. He and his grandfather share the work in caring for his younger sister. His story is one of growth and responsibility. In fact, the opening of the book features him helping his Pop slaughter a goat.

Our glimpses into Leonie’s world show us the reality of addiction, obsessive love, and being haunted (literally) by the past. It doesn’t make me hate her; it paints her in shades of grey that make so much more sense than the usual trope of the drug-addicted mother. It would have been so easy to vilify her.

I enjoyed how beautifully everything in this story was tied together. The writing and the imagery is ridiculous. There were times I felt legitimately uncomfortable reading about the heat and the smells she described. Art is meant to make you feel something. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is the book for you.

Subjective Hearts: 4/5

Objective Hearts:  5/5


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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