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April 4, 2015

RUBY (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) by Cynthia Bond

The content of this book may be offensive to some readers.

(Oprah's Book Club 2.0)
Cynthia Bond
Ms. Bond wrote a strong but disturbing debut novel.  One character was a gentle and kindhearted Ephram Jennings and his sister Celia, who was his sister but actually more like a mother to him.  On the  other side of town lived Ruby Bell.  Ephram, now 47 years old has known and loved Ruby since they were little children.  "the the sweet little girl with the long braids. The kind of pretty it hurt to look at, like candy on a sore tooth."  Ruby is now around 40 and had returned 11 years ago and ever since slipped slowly into the madness that had been her fate for years.  She is caked with mud, her nails black, and her eyes, like just before a bad storm, ink of sky. Ruby became used to being the town's w----, being used by the men and ignored by the women. The only woman who showed any kindness at all was Miss P, the owner of P&K Market.  She gave food to Ruby every day and treated her with a small amount of kindness.   Ruby wasn't always the crazy person, terrible mental and physical abuse led her to what she was.  Her life had been filled with many ghosts.  A mother who abandoned her, being sold into a life of prostitution in a brothel run by a white woman named Ms. Barbara.  She leaves this life in Texas and heads to New York in hopes of finding her mother. She ends up back in Liberty and that's where the disturbing and violent memories begin to unweave and take over Ruby.  The madness that consumed her. Evil spirits that have been haunting  come out of the people of Liberty.  The book holds truth but not every reader wants to go over and over this truth.
The sadness, the pain, evil spirits, "haints" (the murdered children's souls) are overwhelming in this book.  The author wove a haunting story which was told in a poetic way. Some of the sentences were lovely and took away some of the awful, tragic parts of the book.  I found the book sad and it hurt the soul.  I feel we don't always need so much "truth" that is brought up from the dead and the past.  We need more positive and beauty in our lives.  Dwelling on the truth of this book did make the reader stop and think but it also brought back the  ugliness of the past.  Sometimes the past needs to be set in the PAST and left there.  The book was well written, some beautiful poetry in it but also some ugliness. I wouldn't recommend the book to every reader.  Some may find it very offensive.  Let's try to brighten or lives.  I look forward to see what this author will bring to us next.

I was given a complimentary copy of RUBY from Blogging For Books and the author, Cynthia Bond for my view of the book.

I would give the book 3 STARS.

(from Amazon)
The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her, this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

Product Details

  • Series: Oprahs Book Club 2.0
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (February 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804188246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804188241

Cynthia Bond Writer and educator Cynthia Bond has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for over fifteen years. Cynthia attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cynthia acted for many years in New York with the Negro Ensemble Company. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Cynthia founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. Her novel RUBY is published by Hogarth Press, a division of Random House in April 2014. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.


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