review copy; 352 pages
Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms is a recommended novel
full of magic realism about a young girl who is sexually abused. Misty,
ten, her sister Penny, and her mom live in a trailer in an Appalachian Mountain
holler. Her parents have separated. Misty is connected to everything
that lives around her and loves to go to the creek to speak to every
living thing there, but especially to the crawdads. When her neighbor
William starts doing some hurtful things to her in the barn, she doesn't
know how to handle it or what to do about it. And then there are the
strange glass-like statues growing up out of the ground at the neighbors
across the road.
This is a beautifully written descriptive novel, but it is also a
heartbreaking coming-of-age novel. The novel came from a very emotional,
personal place from the author and that shows in the raw emotions
present in the raw undercurrents of fear and horror. In the end Misty is
a survivor. While I admire many qualities in the writing and emotions
of the narrative, I'm the odd reviewer who didn't love Every Bone a Prayer.
The set up for the actual novel is very slow and lengthy. Additionally
the magic, magic realism, animism, etc. distracted from the important
message within the novel. She almost seems to be undergoing a
dissociative state, but in her case it is a real separation from her
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks.