ACDelco Radiators & Heating Components Shop Men's Watches Cloud Drive Photos nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums belkin All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Subscribe & Save Introducing Handmade Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer wdftv wdftv wdftv  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing STEM Toys & Games
Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Save: $5.94 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: FREE TRACKING ON ALL ORDERS! Support Your Planet. Buy CLEAN EARTH BOOKS. Shipping orders swiftly since 2008. A used book that may have some cosmetic wear (i.e. shelf-wear, slightly torn or missing dust jacket, dented corner...) All text in great shape! Comes with our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Our customer service can't be beat! Tracking included on all orders.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel Paperback – October 24, 2000

16 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$7.50 $0.40

"Above the Waterfall" by Ron Rash
In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times best-selling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land. Learn more
$18.06 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel
  • +
  • Pulp
Total price: $30.02
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews Review

On a Friday night in July 1979, the first victim in what would come to be called the Atlanta Child Murders disappeared. Over the course of two years, more than 40 African American children would die--abused, mutilated, strangled--before an arrest in 1981 apparently settled the issue. Wayne Williams, a black man, was accused, tried, and convicted of the murders, and the good citizens of Atlanta breathed easy again, assured that the crimes had not been racially motivated after all, and that the criminal was behind bars.

Or was he? In her posthumously published novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child, Toni Cade Bambara revisits the summer of 1980 and suggests a chilling alternative:

The terror is over, the authorities say. The horror is past, they repeat every day. There've been no new cases of kidnap and murder since the arrest back in June. You've good reason to know that the official line is a lie. But you sweep the walk briskly all the way to the hedge, as though in clearing the leaves you can clear from your mind all that you know. You'd truly like to know less. You want to believe. It is 3:23 on your Mother's Day watch. And your child is nowhere in sight.
The protagonist of Bambara's novel is Marzala Rawls Spencer, an African American mother of three who is managing--just--to raise her family, hold down three jobs, and attend night school. When her 12-year-old son, Sundiata, doesn't return from a camping trip, Zala finds herself plunged into the nightmarish possibility that he has become the latest victim in the series of murders rocking the "City Too Busy to Hate." As she and her estranged husband, Spence, frantically attempt to discover what has happened to their child, the book takes them through the complicated morass of politics, race relations, and class that bedevil Atlanta--and perhaps obstruct the search for the true killer.

Bambara worked on Those Bones Are Not My Child for 12 years before her death in 1995. Toni Morrison edited the manuscript for publication, and though the occasional rough edge shows through, the well-drawn characters and inherent human drama in this stranger-than-fiction tale overcome its minor weaknesses. This is the novel Toni Cade Bambara will be remembered for, and rightly so. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

At the time of her death in 1995, acclaimed author, activist and educator Bambara (Gorilla, My Love; The Salt Eaters) had spent 12 years working on what her friend and editor Toni Morrison calls a "magnum opus." Bambara lived in Atlanta during the two years in which more than 40 children, mostly black boys under 15, were abducted and gruesomely murdered. Her luminous novel draws on a wealth of investigative material, historical detail and family stories, and puts to good use her gifts for passionate storytelling and incisive cultural criticism. The Spencer family, whose oldest son is missing, serves as the fictional anchor. When 12-year-old Sonny fails to come home one night, his anguished mother, Marzala, finds that the police have a pervasive lack of interest in her missing child. Zala and her estranged husband, Vietnam vet Spence, join the Committee to Stop Children's Murders, an activist citizens' group organized by Atlanta parents who are disillusioned with the authorities' indifference to the killings. The cast of characters includes the Spencers' friends, extended family, police, federal investigators, Atlanta officials and the STOP volunteers who search the city seeking leads and patterns, exploring Klan connections and suspicions of a child porn ring. Bambara's thorough re-creation of the STOP committee's work in the book's long middle section comes at the expense of narrative pacing; the story bogs down while the endless theories, tips, hunches and strategies take center stage. Two crucial developmentsAthe arrest of Wayne Williams and a fateful turn for SonnyArefocus the tale on the Spencers. The difficult truths they face are devastating. Bambara gives us an indelible, intimate and moving portrait of an American family, while at the same time producing a landmark work that achieves a potent immediacy as she sagaciously explores the far-reaching issuesAracial, personal, politicalAat stake in one of the 20th century's most horrifying murder cases. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679774084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679774082
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is overwhelmingly important. At times, it is almost unbearable to read not for style, but because its topic was hoped to be forgotten and buried.
I cannot think of a single adult alive during the Atlanta Child Murders who really believed it was Wayne Williams who killed all of those children. It seemed so obvious to most of us that there must have been KKK or some sort of child pornography ring involved. This book smashes the all-too convenient package of that conviction to bits, and tears open old wounds, refusing to cover them up with nonsense.
And yet it's a novel, with rich characters, real and reacting with the human complexity necessitated by the terror of that time.
Can we read this book? All the way through? Are we better off continuing the cheap wallpaper job over the very real problems that exist in America? To me, the way in which the truth of these children and their beleagured mothers and fathers has been swept aside makes the history so much worse. Can you, dear reader, imagine that many people knew about what happened in Atlanta but did nothing with that information that would reveal the truth? And for what? Cheap, short-term convention dollars and electoral politics? It is just enfuriating, and, ultimately demoralizing.
But Toni Cade Bambara is a moral force, a moral hurricane, spitting out eloquent fury, forcing the children back into history, forcing the debate to begin all over again, and, hopefully, forcing someone somewhere to bring this thing to justice.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Judy Lightfoot on July 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
... Zala Spencer has waited up all night for Sonny, her 12-year-old, to come home. Lately he's been hard to manage, but he's never stayed out overnight, and this morning she won't let him stroll in and talk his way around her. As Zala paces the house, she represses the knowledge currently terrifying Atlanta's black community: this summer its children, one by one, are being murdered. Thus readers enter the life of a fictional family whose son disappears during the Atlanta child killings of 1979-1981, when 29 black youths were slain.
Author Toni Cade Bambara was living in Atlanta at the time of the murders, and after several children's bodies were found but officials seemed unconcerned, she began keeping a journal. She filled twelve notebooks, which she spent more than a decade revising into a historical novel. By the time she died in 1995, she had drafted an imposing manuscript, animated by her vexed fascination with America's latest racial Catch-22: that blacks who suspect authorities of prejudice are paranoid, or themselves prejudiced, because our society is now color-blind.
Bambara isn't a one-sided social critic. "Those Bones Are Not My Child" blames black communities for their quietism after the Civil Rights movement: "The ballot secured, reps in office, … folks had laid down their weapons in the public square and sauntered off to read the papers." In Bambara's view all Americans today are chasing the good life instead of social justice. Still, in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981, hundreds of black citizens became activists like Bambara's protagonist, Zala. Weary from the difficulties of raising Sonny in a world dangerous to black males, and now traumatized by his disappearance, Zala is feisty, too.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer LS on November 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This novel is over 600 pages long, yet one feels driven to complete it like a piece of history made personal and real. Using cinematic structure, sharp revealing dialogue, and authentic and winning characters, Bambara creates a work of character and truth. The book maintains a vibrant and resilient vision of a family, a community, a country in crisis. Her gifts at creating empathy are transforming acts.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on January 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Toni Cade Bambara has written an incisive book about a time of terror for black families living in Atlanta at the beginning of the 1980's. A monster was loose, and its prey was black children. Was this monster singular or plural, and was its name Wayne Williams or KKK? We don't know for sure, and we may never know. But Toni Cade Bambara has effectively caught the sense of a community under siege by a nameless, faceless killer on the very first page of the book's prologue: "It's 3:23... and your child is nowhere in sight." Bambara lets the reader share the mood of the people who lived through it -- the parents whose children disappeared; the parents whose children were spared, wondering if their child might be next; the children, some of whom had friends among the victims, living in fear that it could happen to them too. Was Wayne Williams the true killer or a convenient scapegoat? Those who believe the former point to the fact that the murders stopped when he was arrested. This is a powerful, disturbing, controversial book. All the better. The Atlanta child murders needs all the light shed on them that they can get.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Spanswick on June 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found this book by accident. I went out to buy toilet rolls and bought a book that changed my life instead. Although this reads at times like a draft version with all the glitches it gives a much closer picture of Bambara's need to get this story told. It is filled with a Proustian slowness even stillness that can be overwhelming but the end result is that, for me, I can never read a book again in quite the same way. The content of the book is appalling enough but the casual, even matter of fact way in which a great deal of it is written brings the whole case into your own neighbourhood. Books are about us, they reflect a world we all inhabit and that it what makes this such an important book. Bureacracy chokes us and hides the truth from us; frustrates us. Bamabara and Morrison have produced this volume that will alter the perspective of anybody who reads it through. There is never a final answer. Such crimes can not have an easy explanation. Books of this calibre must be written and read
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel
This item: Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel
Price: $18.06
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: &, psychological thriller, suspense thrillers