First of all, I must tell you that I have read 56 books in the first half of the year – not bad going I think! Not that I am trying to break any records, of course.
I have been struggling with this one book since my last Reading Roundup post – Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Here is the blurb:
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.
This is my review on Goodreads:
I am not sure how to review this book or categorise it. I don’t think it is meant for someone like me: a white, lower middle class, English woman. It certainly was difficult for me to read. Difficult in several ways. The setting, Mississippi, is unusual for me, although I can empathise with the poverty, the misery of illness and the bleakness of drug-taking. There is a lot of love in the family, but also enormous secrets and struggles between the characters. I liked the switching between different points of view – that worked very well. I also liked the main character of the young boy, JoJo, and the supernatural touches. It was just hard to concentrate on and I kept waiting for things to happen so that I wouldn’t be tempted to put the book down.
Anyway, after my rather disjointed writing above, I awarded the book four stars in recognition of what the book is saying to a different reader to me in beautiful, lyrical language.
I have found concentrating a real problem with the heat we are having in most of the UK. The sunshine is lovely, but the high temperatures and dryness play havoc with my numerous conditions, making reading difficult. Anyway, I am part-way through my next book, Circe by Madeline Miller, and I hope that I can tell you about this book, and more, next week.
Until my next Reading Roundup post, Happy Reading to you all!