Island of Bones by Joy Castro
Essays (American Lives)

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Synopsis

What is “identity” when you’re a girl adopted as an infant by a Cuban American family of Jehovah’s Witnesses? The answer isn’t easy. You won’t find it in books. And you certainly won’t find it in the neighborhood. This is just the beginning of Joy Castro’s unmoored life of searching and striving that she’s turned to account with literary alchemy in Island of Bones

In personal essays that plumb the depths of not-belonging, Castro takes the all-too-raw materials of her adolescence and young adulthood and views them through the prism of time. The result is an exquisitely rendered, richly detailed perspective on a uniquely troubled young life that reflects on the larger questions each of us faces in a world where diversity and singularity are forever at odds. In the experiences of her past—hunger and abuse, flight as a fourteen-year-old runaway, single motherhood, the revelations of her “true” ethnic identity, the suicide of her father—Castro finds the “jagged, smashed place of edges and fragments” that she pieces together to create an island all her own. Hers is a complicated but very real depiction of what it is to “jump class,” to not belong but to find one’s voice in the interstices of identity.
 

 

About Joy Castro

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JOY CASTRO teaches literature at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. She is the author of Hell or High Water, Island of Bones and The Truth Book (selected as an ABA Book Sense Notable Book in 2005). She lives in Lincoln, NE.
 
Published September 1, 2012 by University of Nebraska Press. 132 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Island of Bones

Kirkus Reviews

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Adopted and raised by a Cuban American family of Jehovah's Witnesses, the author reflects on her search for her true identity.

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

Publishers Weekly

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Castro (The Truth Book: A Memoir), University of Nebraska–Lincoln English and ethnic studies professor and novelist, offers a tough and elegant collection of 20 brief essays.

Jun 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

Star Tribune

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In these beautifully cast essays, Castro uses her own life to illustrate just how tricky it can be to answer the question "Who am I?"

Oct 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

Lincoln Journal Star

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Oct 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

Bookmarks Magazine

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Oct 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

Monsters and Critics

In personal essays that plumb the depths ...more Castro’s collection of twenty touching personal essays explores her experiences growing up in a strict Jehovah’s Witness household where her stepfather’s physical, sexual and mental abuse was tolerated by the Elders and her mother.

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Island of Bones: Essays (Amer...

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