Book Review: Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

December is not my friend when it comes to updating the blog, but it is my best friend when it comes to reading books! Somehow, all the books that I am reading this month are turning out to be absolutely brilliant, and the best out of the whole lot would be Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I never read Jesmyn ward before, and when I read this beauty I mentally smacked myself for missing out on such a brilliant writer. But better late than never right?

The story of Sing Unburied Sing revolves around Jojo and her toddler sister Kayla who live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop and their always high on drugs mother Leonie. They are a broken family living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. If pop is the anchor of this ship, Leonie is the head, hooked on drugs, married to a white man named Michael whose cousin killed her brother and who is himself serving a jail sentence. Jojo acts like a bridge between the grandparents and Kayla. Leonie is hardly in the picture.

One day, news arrives that Michael is to be released from Prison. Going against Pop’s advise to not take children with her, Leonie, the kids and her equally addicted friend Misty embark on a journey to North to meet Michael. This one single journey defines the course of their future. From the multiple gas station stops to dodgy drug deals, Kayla nauseating and crying of ravenous hunger, Jojo and Leonie come face to face with their true self, their inner demons and a positive side that was lost for both of them.

On the return journey, when a police officer stops their car, Leonie’s nightmares become a reality, with a bad combination of ex-cons filled the car and crystal meth lying under Jojo’s seat and a probability of one of them being gunned down.

When it comes to the storyline of Sing Unburied Sing, it’s like a flowing river. It doesn’t stop, it constantly moves forward with some new twists and turns at every page.
For me, Sing, Unburied Sing was hauntingly beautiful, especially Jojo’s emotions that were like a roller coaster ride. This dysfunctional family will keep you hooked until the end of its humor, sadness, and beauty that can’t be found in all books. However, for readers who are looking for a specific conclusion, they might be a little disappointed.

Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book award for fiction in the US. In a bloggers discussion, I got to know that many feel that this book is not as strong as Ward’s previous work, including her 2011 novel Salvage the Bones and her 2013 memoir Men We Reaped. But nonetheless, this book is one of it’s kind. It’s dark, unique and is like a window to the character’s souls.

For me, Sing, Unburied Sing is a must read and something you should definitely not miss out on.

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