Thursday 10 September 2020

The twelve tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis


Paperback, 330 pages

Published August 29th 2013 by Windmill Books (first published December 6th 2012)



This book started with sadness and such sadness it was. And then it became the story of her kids.

Hattie fled the South, cos yeah, the south! She married young, she had lots of kids. They survived by her mere willpower.

But then this was not Hattie's book, I thought it would be but instead we got her children's POVS. Not all. They all get a few chapters about something in their life. I did wonder what happened afterwards? Like how did Six turn out? What happened to Floyd? What happened to baby Ruth? Instead we get that insight about something in their life, which was interesting, but yeah I would like to see how they all turned out in the end.

I can't say I understood why Hattie thought herself better than her husband. Cos they had owned a house and living? But then her husband cheated and lied, and she stayed and had kid after kid.

Good book. I liked most chapters, but maybe not Lawrence for some reason.

Having fled the horror of the American South for a new life in Philadelphia, Hattie Shepherd finds that 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.

Hattie keeps the children alive with sheer will and not an ounce of the affection they crave. She knows they don't think of her as kind. But how could they understand that all the love she had was used up in feeding them and clothing them?


  1. This sounds interesting. Based on the title, I would have thought that the book was just about Hattie but I kind of like the fact that her kids have their own chapters.

  2. I confess that I'm not sure for this one

  3. Carole Random
    Just the kids

    One have to be in the mood

  4. I can see where this would be emotional.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. I probably wouldn't be able to get too far in this, if it started with so much sadness, eek!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  6. I can get that all her energy was taken up in feeding and clothing them but sad for children who crave love.

  7. Reading F
    Very much so

    It hit me so hard at the beginning

    So many kids, who could have time for anything else, when she had a no good man too

  8. Sounds like this one would be a little tough to read. Hugs, RO



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