Sing, Unburied, Sing

515pYTNTrcLSing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward, has been everywhere this season, so I was eager to pick it up and find out what all the hype was about. And, as has been the case for the past few weeks, I was disappointed. The book was lyrical, and beautifully written, without question, but I felt not only dispirited (probably part of the point) and unsettled but also unmoved by the story. The story is about families, specifically dysfunctional ones, and the ties of extended family members. The central story is of Jojo, thirteen, and his toddler-aged sister, who travel with their drug-addict mother and her friend to pick up Jojo’s father, Michael, from prison. Jojo’s mother, Leonie, is a mess, confused about herself, her life, and her relationship with her children and her children’s father. Ghosts play a part in the story as well. The story weaves in and out of time and between the perspectives of Leonie, Jojo, and a dead inmate from the prison. And, while I enjoyed the writing, ultimately, this was not a favorite.

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