I wanted to give a shout out to a very special book, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.
To understand my fascination with Bone Gap, I have to first reveal a little about myself. I am autistic and significantly lack some aspects of facial recognition that has to do with emoting. In the television and film industry, no one really cared about this, but in publishing and education it is often seen as a defining characteristic. In one discussion with a very honest agent, he said he does not represent writers who are, "Autistic, PTSD, bipolar, incarcerated, or political." I asked why not, and he gave a very honest answer, "There are to many writers out there to get bogged down with one who will take extra work just to get to the book stands."
Before anyone gets angry and demands head-on-a-pike that sort of honesty in the current world where prejudice not only is growing, but may even get you elected to office, is refreshing. Agents have a TOUGH job, and reputable agents are exactly that, reputable, although they may not always be brave. Be honest, how many of us would have published, The Satanic Verses knowing what would happen to the book in advance? Sure, it made an amazing amount of money, but one of us would put our families in danger to get this book to the world? This is just a smaller version of that.
And this brings us to Bone Gap. I am not sure what caused me to buy the book, but I did, and not just in the bargain rack. I took it home, opened it up, and was immediately transported to a simple but compelling universe that reminded me of my own rural upbringing. Finn O'Sullivan, the protagonist of the book, immediately stands out because of the subtle clues that Ms. Ruby leaves us. In five pages, I was already betting Finn was high-functioning autistic with a specific difficulty in facial recognition. By page, fifty I was sure. Yet never did she come out and name Finn with a condition. She just described how people reacted to him and let us fill in the blanks. Even if she did not intend a picture of autism to come out, she painted one I could recognize. If not autism, then a neuro-diversity that created special challenges for the hero.
If this was not enough to endear me to the book, then there was her creation of a community I could understand, which is no easy task. I had tried to do this myself with the original Disrupted Gears, but never with the seamless, natural feeling she has in Bone Gap. Finn visits his neighbor who raises bees, and it is a not contrived story point but a natural relationship. His love for the neighbor, Petey, is a tiny thing, kept alive only by hints and subtle comments, but it is real and natural.
Then comes Roza and the horse, and Ms. Ruby turns the story on its head. Here, I will leave the review off as I hope you buy the nook and read it yourself. I can say though that any lover of magical realism will love this work.
Just to conclude. If you like books that allow women to be both victim and hero, that allow diverse voices their time in the sun, are gentle to read but rewarding, and which leaves you with a warm feeling in your heart as if you just watched the caste of the Magicians sing Under Pressure for the first time, then this is the work for you. If I gave subjective stars, I would throw some out at this book.
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