Flesh and Bone

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More About This Title 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.


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.


"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"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"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.'" —Chris Crutcher, author, Whale TalkDeadline, and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes“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, Secret City and Finding H.F."Elegantly lyrical and compelling, Alton's Flesh and Bone gives us a teenaged narrator who is coming to understand the heartbreaking weight of the world." —Toby Emert Ph.D., associate professor, Depart of English, Agnes Scott College"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." —Gail Bush, Booklist"Told in a series of short vignettes, this raw and heart-wrenching novel illuminates how loneliness can exacerbate depression and how while compassion may not always help, it can reveal the start of the path toward healing." —Foreword Reviews"I cannot emphasize how powerful this book is. The prose here is lush and gorgeous as it is lyrical and really quite stark. It is rare to have a book of such power but then it has something important to say." —Amos Lassen, reviewsbyamoslassen.com