Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Born and raised in the South, Hattie Shepherd moves to Philadelphia when she's 15. She gets pregnant soon therafter and marries a man who will only disappoint and frustrate her efforts at fulfilling her dreams. We come to know Hattie through twelve different stories, one for each of her children. 

Every story has its own tragedy and a study of nature v. nurture. Hattie is not a warm, loving mother. In part because of the loss of two of her children. But also in part because she had to be. Her husband did not have much work ethic and spent the majority of their money on alcohol and much of his free time with other women. If it were not for Hattie's cold grit and determination, her children would have starved.

It took me a couple chapters to adjust to the different stories but once I did, I became engrossed in vividness of the storytelling. I kept waiting for the stories to be tied together, but with the exception of a few throwaway mentions, it never happens. If you like closure in your books, you won't find it in this one. But I think it actually works for this story of how messy life is and how rarely life actually gets tied up in a nice package with a pretty bow. It made it more real. A great read.

Next month - One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion for this review.

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