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285 pages, Hardcover
First published September 5, 2017
"I washed my hands every day, Jojo. But that damn blood ain't never come out."
The sky has turned the color of sandy red clay: orange cream. The heat of the day at its heaviest: the insects awoken from their winter slumber. I cannot bear the world.
”Leonie,” Pop says.
I wish he would call me something else. When I was younger he would call me “girl.” When we were feeding the chickens: Girl, I know you can throw that corn further than that. When we were weeding the vegetable garden and I complained about my back hurting: You too young to know pain, girl, with that young back. When I brought report cards home with more As and Bs than Cs: You a smart one, girl. He laughed when he said it, sometimes just smiled, and sometimes said it with a plain face, but it never felt like censure. Now he never calls me by anything but my name, and every time he says it, it sounds like a slap.
SING UNBURIED SING is a multi-layered, beautifully written story about a dysfunctional family who live on a farm near the Gulf of Mississippi.
THE CHARACTERS are very well-defined and unforgettable....like the self-absorbed drug addicted Leonie who "ain't got the mothering instinct"....like Michael the father....who "ain't" much better....undependable....even when he's not in prison.
POOR MAM, she's bedridden; POP watches over her and his two bi-racial grandchildren, but OMG! lives with a haunting and heartbreaking memory.
AND THEN there's JoJo....only thirteen, but clearly stands out among ALL the rest giving baby sister Kayla love and protection from neglect, stupidity and evil.
AND...OH. MY. GOSH. The road trip to the state penitentiary!
MANY of the incidents in this novel are pretty tough to take. (including one with a farm animal) There are also ghosts about and visions from the past, but thankfully, in the spirited end, there is hope and singing from a special little voice.
MANY THANKS to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!