Flesh and Bone

A literary novel for young adults that deals with a despairing teen uncertain about his sexual preferences who turns to drugs, alcohol, and unreliable friends for solace Told in a series of images and fragments, Flesh and Bone is a raw and real portrayal of a teen struggling to find love in his life. When Bill's father leaves and he and his mother move far away to live with her parents, his whole world implodes. His grandparents are cold and distant, his mom is distant both physically and emotionally as she deals with her own struggles, and his dad is just gone. Bill explores his sexuality with multiple partners as he searches for love and compassion and turns to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain of loneliness. Flesh and Bone is a powerful tale that sheds light on the dark places of the soul.

“Conventional wisdom says a book is great when the reader says, “I couldn’t put it down.” You will put this book down. And you will pick it back up. Again and again. In my days as a therapist Flesh and Bone would have been on my bookshelf labeled “Truth.” Alton’s book is the reason no book should be censored.” ~ Chris Crutcher, author of Whale Talk, Deadline and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

"Alton delves deeply into the dark and desolate side of adolescence where the lost boys and girls—the outsiders—endure the emptiness of existing, wanting so much to fill the void, but not knowing how. Bill is a 21st Century Holden Caulfield." —Laurie Gray, author, Maybe I Will, Just Myrto and Summer Sanctuary

Alton’s brief, nuanced vignettes set a steady pace… Bill is lonely, sad, shallow, and detached, but his redeeming characteristic is that he refuses to intellectualize his misery. Mature, empathetic readers will cling to the hope that Bill’s salvation might come eventually with self-acceptance. ~ Booklist

"Told in lyrical, spare chapters, William Alton's Flesh and Bone resists easy categorization. It is a series of elegant flash-fictionesque episodes narrated by Bill, a teenager whose life is upturned when his parents divorce and he and his mother move back to her hometown in rurual Oregon. Searching for acceptance and a sense of his place in the world, Bill, instead finds himself caught in a string of unexpected sexual encounters that both confuse and console him. Alton's prose is rich and his characters are sharp and compelling." ~ Toby Emert, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English, Agnes Scott College.

"In a style that manages to be both stark and lyrical, Flesh and Bone is an unflinching portrait of one young man's pain, desire and search for self." ~ Julia Watts, author of Secret City and Finding H.F.

"Flesh and Bone captures the reader with its beautiful prose and haunting imagery. I felt like I was let into Bill's life, privy to his heart-breaking journey. Like him, I was scraped raw by his struggle." —Margaret Gelbwasser, author, Pieces of Us and Inconvenient

DOWNLOADSWhy I Wrote the Book
Author William Alton discuss how he came to write Flesh and Bone.

William Alton has had his work appear in Breadcrumb Scabs, Main Channel Voices, and World Audience, among other publications. He is the author of the poetry collections Drowning Is a Slow Business and Heroes of Silence as well as the memoir My Name Is Bill. In 2010 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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CategoryChildrens - Teens
Publication Date2015-05-01
Publication StatusIn Print
Trim Size5.5x8
Page Count200

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