Twelve year old Jojo and his baby sister Kayla live in rural Mississippi with their maternal grandparents and their mother, Leonie, who is a meth addict. The grandparents have taken on the parenting role because Leonie is often gone or at home strung out on drugs. The crux of the plot describes Jojo, Kayla and Leonie’s journey by car to pick up the children’s father, Michael, who has just been released from prison. Michael and Leonie are not married and his parents do not approve of the relationship because Leonie is black.
Sing, Unburied, Sing was a difficult novel for me from page one-I still don’t understand the significance of the title. There are three narrators, and one is a dead boy. This worked for me in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, but not here. Finally, there’s a climactic death scene that is so drawn out with flowery, yet awkward, prose that I felt nothing but relief when the character met her end.