Published by Bloomsbury on January 1st 1970
Buy on Amazon
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction
This book takes place over the course of twelve days and in those twelve days a lot happens. A dog, China, becomes a Mother in a very detailed birthing sequence, a young teen, Esch, learns she is going to be a Mother, and Motherless children prepare for a Hurricane in between attending dog fights, fighting among themselves and caring for their drunk father.
Esch and her brothers live in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. Their Mother passed away after giving birth and they are left in the care of their father who is mainly absent from their lives. The children are left to their own devices and raise each other. Esch is fourteen years old and has just discovered that she is pregnant. She has a huge crush on the father but the harsh realities of life are that not everyone you love….loves you back. Skeetah is attempting to save China’s puppies after they are born. He loves his dog – China is his pride and joy. She is a pit bull known in the dog fighting circuit. There are some dog fighting scenes which may be disturbing to some readers. Randall is a basketball player who dreams of going pro one day. Junior is the youngest and is basically looked after by his older siblings.
Teen pregnancy, puppies being born, dog fighting, a drunk father, poverty and a hurricane make for a raw and gritty book. This family has it rough but they come together and support each other. Even their father is able to pull himself together enough to try and prepare for Hurricane Katrina.
The beauty in this book is in the beautiful writing, that and the love of a boy for his dog. This book is depressing and sad but also full of familial love. The descriptions are vivid and detailed.