Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is serious literary fiction. I can appreciate her writing, but I can’t say I liked the story. And maybe it was a bit deep for me. I did find myself skimming. From the cover blurb - an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present examining ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds.
I liked JoJo, the thirteen year old boy who’s trying to be a man. His white father is being released from prison. His true role model is Pops, his black grandfather. His white grandparents choose to not acknowledge him. His mother, Leonie, is a druggie mess who loves JoJo and his baby sister, but is selfish and inconsistent in her parenting. Leonie’s dead brother appears to her in visions. JoJo also can see dead spirits and is guided by a young man who died in prison. (Here’s where it gets heavy with some history burdens of the Deep South weighing on his soul) All in all the book touches on fathers and sons, legacies, violence, and love (cover blurb)
There are some powerful moments, and perhaps as I write this review, I’m seeing the book in a more favorable light. It’s worthy of a deep book club discussion. This is not easy breezy reading for escape. You’ve been warned.