Sing, Unburied Sing

I give Sing, Unburied Sing a 4 stars out of 5.

This is a gut-wrenching story about a biracial thirteen year-old boy, JoJo, set in modern-day Mississippi.

His black mother is a junkie. His white father is in prison. His paternal grandparents will not acknowledge him because he is black. His maternal grandmother is dying of cancer while his grandfather- the only constant in his life- is barely scraping by to make ends meet. The family is impoverished and JoJo must grow up quickly to care for his three year-old sister, Kayla.

When JoJo’s father is scheduled to be released from prison, his mother takes him and Kayla and her bad-influence co-worker, Misty, on a trip upstate to pick him up. On the way, they stop for meth and get pulled over by a police officer. That’s not the half of it.

This story broke my heart- mainly because there are so many kids like JoJo who have terrible lives by no fault of their own. It shows the complicated relationship between JoJo’s biological parents, the dynamic of racism in our modern society, the idea of belonging, and the connection of family.

This book was an easy read- only 280something pages and the font was large- I had to keep checking to makes sure I didn’t accidentally order the large font version. (I didn’t- it just came that way.)

Jesmyn Ward is a vivid storyteller. I’d like to read more of her work.

I chose this book as part of my monthly membership with Book of the Month Club. For a small fee, you get to choose one book each month, ranging from the classics to new books.

Have you read this? What were your thoughts?


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