This is an awesome book. I love to read and at this point, I have read so much - I am a hard to please reader. The prose is simple, yet it will grab and hold your attention. In fact, before I comment on the story, let me say that if you are an aspiring writer - this is a good book to read just to see what simple, yet very engaging prose looks like. I don't care what kind of writer you are, if you have to communicate anything to anyone in "words," you will benefit from reading this.
The story is told from the perspective of a child, but as an adult (and this is definitely adult reading), you won't be able to put it down. There are summaries that I won't rehash, but let me say this - one thing I can't shake is that throughout the book, I wanted to occasionally question Bone's mother about her choices. I found myself wishing that she had made different decisions - especially the decisions that hurt her children and caused her embarrassment. There are also a few racial references in here that some will find disturbing - but it was a reality of the time period in which this book is set. If you are looking for a book to make you smile or laugh, this is not it. But one motif that I did find encouraging was that of family. Throughout, Bone's extended family is a strong one - despite the hardships they face and the disagreements they have. Unfortunately, the love of her family couldn't protect her from everything.
Although this is about a poor, white, southern family, there's something in the story that brings to mind one of my favorite books,"The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison. I mention that to say, if you like Toni Morrison, I think you'll enjoy this book. Toni Morrison's prose is quite a bit more complex, but the sad feeling you get when reading about Toni Morrison's characters is similar to the feeling I get when reading about Bone and her family. Bastard Out of Carolina also shares similar themes with "The Bluest Eye" - sexual abuse, the feeling of living life as one of the seemingly "undesirables" (white trash, black, etc.), tragedy, family and no happy endings.