The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection: this special eBook edition of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis features exclusive content, including Oprah’s personal notes highlighted within the text, and a reading group guide.
The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family.
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.
Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last—glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This beautifully written, emotional saga draws us into the world of one family over half a century. Starting in 1923, with a young girl moving from Georgia to Philadelphia after a horrible episode of racial violence, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie gives us an intimate peek into the lives of 12 interconnected characters, who are all anchored by elegant, hard-as-nails matriarch Hattie. Each of Ayana Mathis’ protagonists takes a distinct life path, from jazz musician to teen preacher, but they all struggle with heartbreak and longing, which seem to ripple out across generations. Though it can sometimes be heavy, the novel’s ultimately about finding those sparks of joy in life.
Mathis's remarkable debut traces the life of Hattie Shepherd through the eyes of her offspring, depicting a family whose members are distant, fiercely proud, and desperate for connection with their mother. When 16-year-old Hattie's newborn twins, her first with husband August, die from pneumonia in the winter of 1925, it is a devastation that will disfigure her for the rest of her life. As the novel moves from closeted musician Floyd's fearful attempt to love another man in 1948, to Six's flight to Alabama two years later after beating a boy nearly to death, Alice's rift with her brother Billups in the late 1960s, consumptive Bell's aborted suicide in 1975, and Cassie's descent into schizophrenia in the early 1980s, what ties these lives together is a longing for tenderness from the mother they call the General. Strong, angry Hattie despairs as August, an ineffectual though affectionate father, reveals himself to be a womanizer who is incapable of supporting the family. Hattie finds happiness with Lawrence, a gambler; after having his baby, Hattie leaves August and her other children and goes with Lawrence to Baltimore, but returns to the house on Wayne Street, in Philadelphia, almost immediately. Sick with longing for her dead twins and all that her children will never have, Hattie retreats into coldness. As her children age, they come to terms with their intense need for and resentment of the mother who kept them alive but starved their hearts, while Hattie faces a choice between anger and peace. Mathis weaves this story with confidence, proving herself a gifted and powerful writer.
I really enjoyed this book! Love the author's "voice" - I found the honesty and authenticity of the characters engrossing. I was smitten from the first page - when we witness Hattie's greatest loss, which impacts who she is and how she loves for the rest of her life. I was sorry to see it end, and it in fact ended much to abruptly for me, leaving me asking, but what happened to... as it's difficult not to want the rest of the story. It seems, incomplete somehow, in that we just don't know.
They owe us money
I have both the kindle and iPad. There are quite a few pages missing. One for every four pages. I'm going to continue on my kindle. At least it's accurate.
I just can't seem to learn my lesson about these Oprah book recommendations. They are usually so hyped up and then turn out to be disappointing. I also don't care to read about homosexual relations which this book has. I wish I had known before spending my good money on it. Total waste of time and money.