Friday, May 4, 2012

Reading: The food of my soul

I have been on a reading tear the past week or so. 
I have read at least four books and am in the middle of two more as we speak.

Literally, it is the food of my soul. 

I read to entertain myself and to keep my mind sharp. But it is also a form of education and escapism.
If I am lucky, I escape and lose myself in my book. That used to drive my husband nuts. He now listens to books on mp3, so he is right there with me and I have to yell to get his attention.

My favorite book that I have read lately is Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. 
From the start, it griped me and did not let me go. 
What could have been a very depressing book about rural poverty, Hurricane Katrina, and loss of something loved, actually was very heartwarming.
Ironic, I know. 
Salvage the Bones: A Novel

The main character is Esch, a teenage girl being raised by her alcoholic father along with three brothers in rural Louisiana. She looks for love in the usual stereotypical ways with boys that come to visit her brothers and of course, ends up pregnant. Her brothers deal with the crippling poverty they live in via various outlets. One is sports, another being the adored baby. The third brother raises a fighting pit bull, caring for her as if she were his beloved girl friend or mate. He breeds her and tries to raise her litter of puppies, with a wing and a prayer, literally. His ignorance and dedication at times almost kills her as he gives her horse medication to prevent parvo. 

The family is loyal and dedicated to each other in the way orphans often are, carrying each other through hardships, turning inward. Their father is oblivious to it all, due to his grief and subsequent alcoholism and often ignores what is plainly going on in front of his eyes.

The book's climax is the horrible force and great illluminator that was Katrina, bearing down on the family, forcing them to fight for their lives and bringing things to light that had been hidden. Just like the storm brought to America's attention the plight of the poor in Louisiana and elsewhere, Salvage the Bones brings to light the family's hidden secrets. Esch and her family are forced from their homes and she is forced, along with her father, to face the truth. They begin anew with the hope that he will wake up from his grief and she will finally find the love she has missed since her mother died.

Very well written and page turning to the end, this book grabbed me like few that I have read lately.

My soul was fed.

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