Monday, 3 February 2014

Mathis, Ayana "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie"

Mathis, Ayana "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" - 2013

Another book I picked up and then found it was also an Oprah selection.

I liked the writing, very interesting stories, the life of the children is described in a compelling way.

However, I would have liked to hear more about the different characters. The whole book is more like a collection of short stories and most of the characters are never heard of again after their chapter ends.

None of the characters were very likeable. But, in their defence, they all had a hard life, were born into one where they had no chance to improve it and knew that, as well. I don't know how we would react if a life like that was given to us. But, even if they were not very likeable, their stories are heartbreaking and I think they might have become nicer, better people, had they been given a chance.

All in all, not my favourite book but a good read.

From the back cover: "Fifteen years old and blazing with the hope of a better life, Hattie Shepherd fled the horror of the American South on a dawn train bound for Philadelphia.
Hattie’s is a tale of strength, of resilience and heartbreak that spans six decades. Her American dream is shattered time and again: a husband who lies and cheats and nine children raised in a cramped little house that was only ever supposed to be temporary.
She keeps the children alive with sheer will and not an ounce of the affection they crave. She knows they don’t think her a kind woman — but how could they understand that all the love she had was used up in feeding them and clothing them.
How do you prepare your children for a world you know is cruel?
The lives of this unforgettable family form a searing portrait of twentieth century America. From the revivalist tents of Alabama to Vietnam, to the black middle-class enclave in the heart of the city, to a filthy bar in the ghetto, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an extraordinary, distinctive novel about the guilt, sacrifice, responsibility and heartbreak that are an intrinsic part of ferocious love."

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