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Shen Dove Style: Book Review: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie


I rarely say this when I read a book these days, but though The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was a good read (it is an Oprah Book Club pick after all), it didn't resonate with me the way I expected it to. I really wanted to love this book but it just didn't come together for me.  Seeing the main character face (and overcome) so many hardships during her life made the book a heavy read.  I'm sure this was the point of the book, but I guess I was in the mood for a lighter story during the time that I read it.  The story was told through several narrators and because of this, it took time for me to connect with the characters.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie revolved around Hattie Shepherd who moved to Philadelphia from Georgia during the 1920s. At the age of 17, Hattie and her husband have twin babies. A tragedy occurs in young Hattie's life that shapes her and subsequently affects the other children she has (11 in total).  The story which spans several decades is told from Hattie's point of view as well through some of her children (and one grandchild). 

There were some great portions of the book with beautifully and sadly written passages.  I definitely rooted for Hattie from page one until the final page of the book. The beginning and the end of the book were the most compelling to me. I thought this was a promising debut novel though it wasn't a favorite.  I would be willing to read Ayana Mathis's next book to see how it comes together.

My verdict: Read this book if you're interested in reading about the Great Migration, family drama or stories set in Philadelphia. Otherwise, this may not be the book for you.

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2 Comments:

At January 30, 2013 at 8:22 PM , Anonymous dotty said...

this book was totally on my list, since it sounded like a good story, but i might move it down a few notches since you say it's a heavy read. i need like three happy books for every sad one that i read!

 
At February 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM , Anonymous ShenDove said...

I'm the same way! Must balance the heavy reads with the fun, light ones.

 

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