A profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South and “an essential novel” (The New Yorker)
“As close to flawless as any reader could ask for . . . The living language [Allison] has created is as exact and innovative as the language of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye.” —The New York Times Book Review
The publication of Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event that won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.
Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family—a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard-drinking men who shoot up each other’s trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, “cold as death, mean as a snake,” becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney—and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In a novel that’ll make you want to hug every kid you know, Dorothy Allison captures the shame, anger, and helplessness of an abusive childhood. Ruth Anne, known as Bone, is a victim of the relentless horror that her supremely unlikable stepfather, Glen, inflicts on her. Her mother’s blind deference to him makes matters much worse. Allison’s raw narrative spares nothing, from family dinners of crackers and ketchup to Bone’s hope that her hands will be as strong as her tormentor’s one day. By the book’s gripping climax, Bone’s show of strength in the face of pain makes it clear why this was adapted into a TV movie—and why that movie won an Emmy.
Allison spikes her critically acclaimed first novel, a National Book Award nominee, with pungent characters, and saturates it with a sense of its setting--Greenville, S.C.
I’ve waited years to read this don’t quite know why but it hit me with full impact. When you’re considered white trash and looked down on it sticks with you. When you have alcohol and violence it’s lethal.
An incredible, life altering book.
This is a must read! Although a work of fiction, this story contains such powerful truths. The questions raised are hard, but need to be confronted.
Bastard out of Carolina
Full of feeling....and now , reading the author's incredible afterward....I will reread this book. Meaningful.