The stories of this novel in story form act together to present the young life a boy named Peter. Ranging from Peter at ages four to twelve, the stories focus on the moments in childhood that get buried in the mind but are never fully absorbed. Unlike most coming of age tales, Peter is never brought forward into adulthood. Rather, though the stories are reflective, the distance is short. Thus, instead of a how an adult became who they are, the result is a becoming–a sonar picture of the person Peter will be.
Bones Buried in the Dirt is a group of stories about Peter, a young boy growing up and experiencing childhood. Each chapter is a new day in his life, and each day is a new experience. While some stories may seem far more significant than others, each one will have an impact on Peter and will shape who he becomes.
I have to say that Bones Buried in the Dirt is one of the most intense books I have read in a long time. I knew going into this book that Peter was a younger child, but somewhere along the beginning I forgot just how young he really is. I was then shocked back into reality during the most uncomfortable story, Training, in which Peter and his friends "practice" kissing each other, which leads to other things. Even though this did make me extremely uncomfortable, I understood it's necessity. These stories took place back in the 1980's well before internet and the constant ability to Google whatever you want to know. I think these scenarios were far more frequent than anyone realizes.
For the most part, I liked Peter. I also grew up in the '80s and could understand his lifestyle. He had a cruel father and some of his friends were bullies, and for this I felt sorry for him. I can't imagine what it is like for a young boy growing up, especially with friends that are mean for no other reason than to just be mean, and with friends that are constantly trying to out do each other. I definitely walked away from this book with a far better understanding, which I truly appreciate since I have a son Peter's age.
What I truly loved most about this book is that even though some of the stories seemed rather insignificant, they actually weren't. I don't know about you, but I know that I have held onto some of the strangest memories growing up. Memories of just random days that seemed to mean absolutely nothing. These are the days that shape you as a person the most, they are far more frequent than any other. It is how you handle yourself in those every day situations that have much more of an impact on how you react to life's curve balls.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It took me back to my own childhood and reminded me what it was like to be young in a time when there was no internet or video games at the ready. I was also very happy with the way Peter's story ended and it gave me hope for his future. I love walking away from a book with a good feeling, especially when the previous pages had your heart thumping in panic and doubt.
If you enjoy a good coming of age story, is an '80s child like me, or is just looking for a deeper read, I highly recommend Bones Buried in the Dirt. You won't be disappointed.
For more about David S. Atkinson, visit his website here.
*I received this book for free in exchange of my honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way and all views and opinions expressed are 100% my own.