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One Good Mama Bone: A Novel (Story River Books) Hardcover – February 14, 2017
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"Beautiful book? You bet, and one you'll love."--Lake Country Now
"McClain's first novel resists predictability and instead weaves together questions about poverty, class, violence, and religion. . . . A thought-provoking story about families and the animals who sustain them."--Kirkus Reviews
"McClain brings forth a story that aches and pulses."--IN Magazine
"Beautifully written and so descriptive of life in the rural South."--Girl Who Reads
"The 1950s Deep South comes alive in this folkloric tale of love, sacrifice, and redemption."--Washington Independent Review of Books
"First-time novelist McClain draws on her family's history in the rural South to create a cast of deeply relatable characters, both human and animal, who readers will find themselves rooting for until the very last page."--Booklist (starred review)
"The plot and McClain's deeply developed characters are matched by her language. It is both realistic and poetic, simple and eloquent at once, and it will draw you in quickly and completely."--Sumter Item
2017 Pulpwood Queens' Book of the Year!
"It's a novel with a heart-breaking beginning whose conclusion is morally and emotionally satisfying."--Southern Literary Review
"Bren McClain's brilliant and ravishingly moving novel 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."--Robert Olen Butler, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning short-story collection, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
About the Author
Bren McClain was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, on a beef cattle and grain farm. She has a degree in English from Furman University; is an experienced media relations, radio, and television news professional; and currently works as a communications confidence coach. She is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and the recipient of the 2005 Fiction Fellowship by the South Carolina Arts Commission. An excerpt from One Good Mama Bone was named a 2012 finalist for the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Award for a Novel-in-Progress. This is McClain's first novel.
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Pat Conroy read this book before it was published and he was so moved that he asked if his publishing company could have the honor of publishing it... and they did, right before is death.
I was honored to meet Bren years ago at a writers conference when we were both unpublished and knew her when this manuscript was a finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner/ Wisdom Pirates Alley competition and I am thrilled that her upcoming novel, "Took" won the 2016 just won the same competition in 2016. So, get her to autographed copy while you can, because she is going to the top of the New York Time Bestsellers list... perhaps ever the Pulitzer Prize.
Reviewed by Craig Faris, Seventeen-time published author with 31 literary awards, and author of The Spectrum Conspiracy, winner of 8 literary competitions international, national and regional competitions.
Sara Creamer’s life is broken—from a cruel mother who ridiculed her obesity and proclaimed she didn’t have even one good mama bone to a child born of an adulterous affair between her husband, Harold, and her best friend, Mattie. But Sara Creamer is a survivor—a survivor who takes in Harold and Mattie’s child, Emerson Bridge, to raise as her own after both Harold and Mattie die. And in doing so, Sara proves that she truly does have one good mama bone. Battling hunger, severe cold, and mounting debt, Sara struggles to subsist and care for Emerson Bridge by sewing dresses for the local women.
Though I found Bren McClain’s novel to be replete with pain, tragedy, and cruelty, I was most taken with the kindness of many of the characters in ONE GOOD MAMA BONE. Sara, herself, is the picture of virtue and kindness, as are Mrs. Dobbins and her friends, who hire Sara to make their dresses. Emerson Bridge has a heart of gold and wisdom beyond his years, even befriending brat L. C. Dobbins and uncovering the kindness in L.C.’s heart. The kindest character of all, though, is Mama Red, the cow who teaches Sara how to be a mother who possesses much more than just one good mama bone.
ONE GOOD MAMA BONE is the kind of book you devour to learn what will happen next but regret getting to the end. This debut novel is destined to become a southern classic.
Brava, Ms. McClain. Looking forward to hearing more from you.