One Good Mama Bone’s first sentences are enough to capture even the most demanding reader’s attention.
“One night, deep into it, when sounds are prone to carry, a baby boy lies crying on Sarah Creamer’s kitchen table. He is minutes old, still wet with his mother’s blood, and hungry for his mother’s milk.
But she does not hear his cries. She is no longer there.
Only Sarah. Only Sarah remains. Her body bent over his, her hands rummaging the wooden planks for a towel still white enough to wrap him in. Blood is everywhere, puddled up as if there had been a hard rain. The smell of it saturates the eighty-one-degree air, pushes aside the dry tang of bleach, and fills the heat with the moistness of a long-shuttered earth, now free.
The baby’s cries penetrate Sarah’s bosom and bounce around its emptiness.”
Those sentences offer the promise of a good story with fine writing and the rest of One Good Mama Bone delivers on that promise. The book opens in 1944 on the day of Emerson Bridge’s birth and his mother Mattie’s death. It soon skips ahead to a dark November day in 1950 when a mother cow delivers twin calves in an empty pasture where she watches her first-born, a female calf, die. With fierce determination, the mother cow returns to her feet and saves her second-born, a male calf, with no one around to show her what to do.
“She would know, and it would come from a place deep inside where maternal love lives and maternal love grows, a place that is regardless there, never wavering there, nonnegotiably there.
It lay in her bones.”
Category: Fiction, Five Stars, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Grits, Pigeon Pie, Book Club
Publication date: February 14, 2017
Author Website: http://www.brenmcclain.com/
Read an Excerpt: http://www.brenmcclain.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Chapter-One-for-website-pdf.pdf
Q & A with the Author: http://www.brenmcclain.com/qa/
Reading Group Guide: http://www.brenmcclain.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Discussion-Questions.pdf
What Others are Saying:
“In spite of being an animal lover all my life and feeling the centrality of that love in how I see the larger world, I have never directly addressed that theme in my writing. I no longer have to. Bren McClain’s brilliant and ravishingly moving One Good Mama Bone speaks eloquently for all of us who find our deepest humanity intimately connected with all the sentient creatures around us. Humane and universal, One Good Mama Bone is an instant classic.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler
“Bren McClain writes of elemental things with grace, wisdom, and power. One Good Mama Bone speaks with a quiet authority that comes through on every page.” Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction