Betty

The International Bestseller

    • 4.3 • 7 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

'A coming-of-age story filled with magic in language and plot: beautiful and devastating'
Observer, Books of the Year

'I felt consumed by this book. I loved it, you will love it'
Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

'A page-turning Appalachian coming-of-age story told in undulating prose that settles right into you'
Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times

'Vivid and lucid, Betty has stayed with me'
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

'I loved Betty'
Fiona Mozley, author of Hot Stew

'Breahtaking'
Vogue

'A GIRL COMES OF AGE AGAINST THE KNIFE'

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter.

Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings: the world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and loss, of lush landscapes and blazing stars.

Despite the hardships she encounters, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness - the horrors of her family's past and present - Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write.

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2020
18 August
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
464
Pages
PUBLISHER
Orion
SELLER
Hachette Australia Pty Ltd
SIZE
1.7
MB

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

Over-written

Author
American novelist, poet, and visual artist who lives in Ohio. Her first novel The Summer That Melted Everything (2016) was well received. This is her second published novel, although she's been working on it since she was 18. (She's now late 30s). It was rejected a number of times apparently, but finally published this year to considerable critical fanfare.

Plot
Betty, the author's Mum, was the sixth of eight children born in 1950s Appalachia to a white mother and a Cherokee father. This is a fictionalised biography with the mandatory dark family secrets and considerable social commentary attached: poverty, racism, domestic violence, yada, yada. The author is a poet so there's plenty about landscape too. Surprisingly enough, the Native American Dad turns out to be the good guy. Betty eventually leaves home to make her own life after he croaks. And did I mention violence? A helluva a lot of violence.

Narrative
Third person from various POVs.

Characters
The family members, those that live past infancy, are all keenly drawn and generally convincing.

Prose
Impressively lyrical as you might expect from a self confessed poet. A spare writing style would have suited the often grim subject material better IMHO.

Bottom line
Ms McD can write, and the tale is obviously of great personal significance to her, but the themes and tropes were familiar from any number of other books I have read, and it felt overwritten to this grumpy old white man.

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