Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Released: 2013
Pages: 456
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5


Sisters, Beena and Sadhana grew up in a loving home with parents with different cultural backgrounds. Their mother was born in North America and traveled the world, she was very much a free spirit, their father came from a conservative family in India , and they eventually settled in Montreal. Their father owned and operated a bagel shop, while their Uncle managed the day to day tasks. When their father suddenly passes away, the three of them are left to grieve and learn to cope. A few short years later, their mother tragically passes away and the teenage girls are suddenly orphaned and left under the guardianship of their strict, single Uncle.  The family never approved of their mother and Beena and Sadhana had no other relatives they knew. Tragedy and grief seemed to always be around the corner. Both girls began to lead very different paths, Beena unexpectedly becomes pregnant at sixteen and Sadhana develops anorexia.


Bone and Bread was a great read. Essentially this is a book about relationships, and how life continually forces changes upon individuals. Beena and Sadhana are barely two years apart, they’ve always been close and dealt with tragedy differently. Bone and Bread opens with the death of Sadhana, while Beena tries to come to grips with her death, rehashing their hardships endured together. Beena, the older sister always felt protective of her sister but at the same time, she needed to care for her son and live her own life.  Sadhana’s anorexia really takes a toll on their relationship and Beena doesn’t know how much she can trust her sister or how long she can protect her. Sadhana struggles with needing her own space, creating her own life and needing to help her sister.

I really grew to love both girl’s and understand their hardships. Once they lost both their parents, their foundation crumbled. They barely knew their Uncle, never had a real relationship with him and being placed under his guardianship caused them to resent him. Coming from a conservative family, having no wife, readers can really see the struggles he faces. Everyone is in a predicament and trying to survive.

As a fellow Montrealer, the atmosphere of this novel really brings it to life. Nawaz writes about a Montreal I know, and live in. This has not always been the case when I’ve read other books that are set in Montreal. I love the cover of this one, I think it captures the story well. I really don't feel like I'm giving this book justice in my review, but I highly recommend this book, especially for those who have a sister. I believe the story would be even more powerful. Great for book clubs! 


  1. This one looks good! I'm adding it to my TBR! Thanks!

  2. Great review. Sounds like an emotional story.

  3. I do not know where to start with all the things that I loved about this book! I loved the story about two sisters growing up in Montreal with an Irish mother and a Sikh father who runs a bagel shop in Mordecai Richler territory - I loved this as a Montrealer ("born and bred!")and as a Canadian. The cultural mix seemed quintessentially Canadian to me. Throughout the novel, I could almost taste those delicious Montreal bagels!

    Irene (SEO Austin)