Book Review – Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

This next book was nabbed at a library used book sale for $1. Why it was being sold, I will never understand, for it’s won countless awards and praises have been highly sung for it. When sifting through used books, I generally look for books I’ve heard of and books that were published either recently or would be considered classics. I suspect this one, which was published recently, will one day be considered a classic as well. 

Book 19:
Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward

Road Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Literary fiction

September 2017

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Sing, Unburied, Sing is about the struggle to navigate rites of passage amidst varying family and racial dynamics. Jojo, age 13, is becoming a man as his black grandfather helps raise him, his white father is released from prison, his white grandfather refuses to acknowledge his existence and the spirits of important deceased men pay him visits. Meanwhile, his black mom can’t seem to put her children above her drug addiction, his black grandmother is dying of cancer and he’s forced to take care of his little sister, Kayla. It’s a story of generational poverty wrapped up in a time when racial tensions still ran strong in Mississippi.

Favorite Quote(s):

Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds.” 

-Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

Awards (based upon my brief research):
National Book Award for Fiction
A TIME magazine Best Novel of the Year
New York Times top 10 of 2017
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize
Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
Finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
Publishers Weekly Top 10 of 2017
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
One of President Obama’s best books read of 2017
Finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction
Finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Fiction
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction


My Overall Rating:
3 – I wanted to like this book more, but I can also see why it’s won so many awards. The story very well demonstrates themes of generational poverty and racial tension, but it took me so long to get into the meat of the story that I struggled to want to read it. I really liked that the white male character was the one who was incarcerated. I think that was a strong sign of equality amidst a story of perceived inequality. Otherwise, I would give the first half of the book a 2 and the second half of the book a 4, hence the 3.