One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

One Good Mama Bone

Once you attune yourself to the voice of this emotionally evocative story, it’ll submerge you in language like water running in a creek bed. Author Bren McClain takes the reader to a down on its luck farm, in the esoteric pocket of rural 1950’s Anderson, South Carolina, and delivers lines, such as “Get the by God out of my clean yard” and “He’d probably be drunk as a coot and trying to have relations with his common law.” It is McClain’s uncompromising use of language that gives us the consciousness of each character in this purpose driven story, who are all linked to each other by the common pursuit of raising a steer to enter into the 1952 Fat Cattle Show and Sale, with dreams of winning the monetary prize awarded to its Grand Champion. Every character has its own agenda, and the best and worst of human nature is depicted as we follow the motivation of each principal character to the destination of one fateful day. One Good Mama Bone opens with a birth’s gripping drama and never turns the reader loose throughout its breath-catching, suspenseful build. It gives us a protagonist in single mother Sarah Creamer, who doggedly fights the constraints of poverty and wrestles with her own beaten down identity, all in the name of selfless love for her young son, Emerson Bridge. Sarah’s quest tugs at the heartstrings with the lure of her incremental maternal awakening, as reflected in her relationship with a mother cow named Mama Red. That this story contains a nemesis in the contentious, self-serving cattleman Luther Dobbins, who throws up one heart-stopping obstacle after another on the road to Sarah and Emerson Bridges’ goal keeps the pages turning to the very end. I loved this book for the mood that descended every time I returned to its pages. It’s a rare book that hands you a life you can slip into, and an even rarer writer that’ll give you a million reasons to do it.     

2 thoughts on “One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

  1. Claire, you did it again – got me so excited with a review that I’ve added this title to my to-read list -which is now 11 pages long. Your passion for this book rings loudly – it sounds like a great story.


    1. I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Bren McClain, at The Pat Conroy Literary Festival last October, and believe me, this Southern gem is her own best salesperson! I’m talking Southern-to-the-core, with storytelling abilities that will rock your socks off! I was at the point, after exchanging pleasantries with her a few times, where I said to myself, “Whatever it is she’s selling, I’m buying!” You should follow Bren on Facebook. Never have I seen an author working her labor of love with such flair! She’s the real deal, and her book is a blast to read, for all its authenticity into a certain sect of the South.


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