Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: Taste of Salt

Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 281 (Paperback)
Source: Publisher Algonquin Books
Author WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

From the Back Cover:
Josie Henderson is most at home in and around water, and as a senior-level black female scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she is practically alone in her field.  But in building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family roots back in Cleveland.  When Tick, her brother and childhood ally against their alcoholic father, arrives on her doorstep fresh from rehab and teetering on teh edge of a relapse, Josie must finally face her family's past--and her own patterns of addiction.

My Rating:
My Review:
In The Taste of Salt, we get a picture into Josie's life at a point where her past connects with her present and forces her to stop ignoring her history, family, and choices.  This is a complex story dealing with issues of addiction and alcoholism; yet, it is surprisingly easy to read.  I found myself getting lost into Josie's story.  Though events are primarily through Josie's eyes, the reader views her same story through other perspectives, but this technique is used sparingly.  Though I didn't agree with all of Josie's choices, I understood many of her thoughts and reasoning.  I think Ms. Southgate zones in on issues that affect many people of color.  Especially those who want to escape ugly stereotypes.  Though in Josie's case, she's not quite sure how to do this.  Perhaps she is escaping her family instead?  Question mark?  Though I have read the book, I have many thoughts and suppositions but haven't made up my mind yet.  This is the beauty of this book.  It isn't dark and depressing either.  I think this is a book about choices.

Ms. Southgate does not beat the reader on the head with any particular view but allows the reader to come to conclusions on their own without feeling like the author left things vague and open.  After finishing this book, I'm left with thoughts about the writing almost more than the story.  It is amazingly well-written.  Simply written, while conveying enormous complexities.  I tend to enjoy books with amazing characters.  I was not attached to Josie.  I'm not sure if I liked her, but it never mattered at any point in this book.  This imperfect character seemed so real that I was sure she had to based on a real life person.

Things end on a realistic note without everything tied up in a bow.  Read this if you are looking for a book that will make you think long after you reach the end of the pages.  This is also a perfect book club pick.

About Martha
Martha Southgate is the author of four novels. Her newest, The Taste of Salt, published by Algonquin Books, is in stores and available for pre-order now. Her previous novel, Third Girl from the Left, won the Best Novel of the Year award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was shortlisted for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy award. Her novel The Fall of Rome received the 2003 Alex Award from the American Library Association and was named one of the best novels of 2002 by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post. She is also the author of Another Way to Dance, which won the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award for Best First Novel. She received a 2002 New York Foundation for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her July 2007 essay from the New York Times Book Review, “Writers Like Me” received considerable notice and appears in the anthology Best African-American Essays 2009. Previous non-fiction articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine,O, Premiere, and Essence.

If anyone is interested...
While I was researching The Taste of Salt and ran across an article written by Martha Southgate concerning The Help.  Now I know that this controversy has been going on for awhile, but I enjoyed her take because it was short and easy to understand without going into stuff that isn't, in my opinion, as important.  Here is the link to the article if you like.

I am in no way bashing The Help.  I have not read the book and I do not plan on reading it for personal reasons that I have explained elsewhere on my blog.  It has nothing to do with the controversy.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

No comments:

Post a Comment

I absolutely LOVE all comments! So please feel free to chime in with your thoughts, questions, opinions, or whatever else you have to say.

Don't forget to check back as I reply to comments. Dialogue is good right?

09 10