Red at the Bone (Riverhead Books)

An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

NOTE: As with all Skylight Books in-store events, this reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served). But because we're expecting a large crowd at this event, we'll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized:

  • To get a ticket to the signing line, you must purchase a copy of Red at the Bone here at Skylight Books. Tickets are available now. 
  • For all website orders for this event, be sure to leave a note in the Order Comments field that you would like a ticket and plan to attend the event.
  • Skylight's Friends with Benefits members get priority signing line tickets (and 20% off this and all other event books each month), so be sure to mention your membership (or join) when you order the book.

Praise for Red at the Bone:

“A wise, powerful, and compassionate novel.”★—Publishers Weekly, starred review ★

“A remarkable and moving portrait… There's not a single unnecessary word.”—Refinery29

“This slender miracle of a novel performs a magic trick with time…Woodson skips back and forth between the decades so deftly that it feels like it all happens in a heartbeat.”—Family Circle

“The luminous song of a masterful storyteller.”—Read It Forward

“Three generations of longing and ambition come into razor-sharp focus.”—Vanity Fair

“So lyrical it often reads like poetry.”—AARP

“Woodson channels deeply true-feeling characters, all of whom readers will empathize with in turn. In spare, lean prose, she reveals rich histories and moments in swirling eddies, while also leaving many fateful details for readers to divine.”—Booklist

“Both deeply personal and remarkably universal.”—Bookpage

“Woodson sings a fresh song of Brooklyn, an aria to generations of an African American family... Woodson's ear for music—whether Walt Whitman's or A Tribe Called Quest's—is exhilarating, as is her eye for detail… at the height of her powers, readers hear the blues.”★—Kirkus, starred review ★

“Woodson manages to remember what cannot be documented, to suggest what cannot be said.”—Washington Post

“Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.”—Ann Patchett

Jacqueline Woodson is one of today’s most beloved and important writers, unparalleled in her contributions to literature for readers of all ages. Over five million copies of her books are in print, translated into 17 languages. Her more than two dozen children’s books are regularly taught in schools across the country and have received four Newbery Honors, two Coretta Scott King Awards and the Margaret A. Edwards lifetime achievement award for young adult literature. Woodson is a four-time National Book Award finalist and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, and her New York Times-bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award in 2014. Soon after, in 2015, the Poetry Foundation named Woodson the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and last year the Library of Congress named her the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. 

Kara Brown is a writer, speaker and co-host of Crooked Media's pop culture podcast, Keep It!. Television credits include Freeform's Grown-Ish and The CW's In The Dark. Previously, she was a senior writer at Jezebel where she covered pop culture, race and television. Her work has appeared in Time Magazine, Marie Claire, Glamour, Elle, Nylon Magazine and The Fader. In 2018 she was named to Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in Hollywood and Entertainment.

Event date: 
Friday, September 27, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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