Mini-Review: Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson

red at the bone Jacqueline WoodsonRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Contemporary Fiction


Red at the Bone tells the story of Melody and her family, going through different point of views as they revisit their relationships with each other as the years go by.

It’s hard to describe this book, mostly because there isn’t too much of a plot, except that Melody and her family tell their stories, their dreams and their frustrated ambitions. It’s a book about family versus dreams, about family heritage versus new beginnings. It’s a beautifully written story, which had its moments of brilliancy, but that left me wanting so much more out of it. There was hardly any emotional connection with the characters, the ending felt weird and forced, and there was little development for most of the characters. I loved the story of Melody’s mother, a difficult woman who did not want to be a mother and chose her career instead, but who would like to reconnect with her daughter one day. Who falls in love with a woman but can’t help but lie to her. In the end, I would have loved this book a lot more if it had been through her perspective, a hard-hitting book full of emotion and pain, but as it was, Red at the Bone didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Still, it was a nice afternoon read!

12 thoughts on “Mini-Review: Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson

  1. Great review! I really liked this book when I read it, but I’ve already forgotten a lot of it. I agree that getting more of Iris’ perspective would have made this book better. And I would have loved to see more exploration of the relationship between Iris and Melody!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! The great thing is that this is so quick to read, which is a relief after reading the Mantel or so, but I’ve read it just a few days ago and I’m starting to forget things already…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Iris made the book for me, imo, but I also wanted more things fleshed out, like the mother-daughter relationship. Plus the ending was so abrupt?? Like wait, I thought we were talking about Iris’s unrequited love?? I enjoyed everything a little more than you did, but now I find it hasn’t really stayed with me either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I totally agree. The ending was like oooook let’s wrap up years of damaged mother-daughter relationship, dreams and misunderstandings into one dramatic scene. Felt a little forced, tbh. I reallyyy would have loved it if it was about Iris’s unrequited love!

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Great review! I completely agree with your take. Iris was the high point of the book for me as well, and seeing more of her (and more of her relationship with Melody) would probably have improved my experience with the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen a few more people saying that Iris was the best part of the book, seems to be quite a general agreement that the book would’ve been better having more of her. Pity it didn’t go that way!

      Liked by 1 person

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