A modern literary classic, now available in a 20th anniversary edition with a new afterword by the author.
The publication of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event. The novel's profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and 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.
©1992 Dorothy Allison (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Say something about yourself!
I almost stop buying this book because of the awful reviews from people who could not stand the novel because the detailed description of the rape. It is sad that they miss this wonderful story because of that. It is just not fair. Life is life, with beauty and ugliness, with good and bad, even if we avoid reading about it, it is just is. I rather read this novel, with the rape and everything than lose my time reading “The fifty shades of grey”, that is only garbage.
Additionally, the reader is amazing. Is one of the best one I recommend this book specially to mothers who prefer to close the eyes instead of standing up.
By the way, regarding the last chapter, the writer does not need to apologize for anything.
This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.
I saw the movie years ago and never forgot the darkness and sadness. This story has enough differences that even though you have seen the movie, you won't recognize it. In the book, Ruth Ann is strong and you know she will be okay. Her situation will make you cry and it will break your heart. In the movie, I don't remember her as being strong. I remember wondering what would happen to this poor girl if she survived her situation. As with most books; this one is also better than the movie.
You don’t have to read all of this book to get what is probably its best part. You certainly should read it all – don’t get me wrong – but the essence of it comes to us in the first paragraphs when we hear Bone talk for the first time.
This is the story of a young girl growing into her full self in the face of a great deal of confusion (from her wild and colorful family) and more than her share of hostility (a childish, frightening and terribly abusive step-father). If the question underlying it is always, “What will she learn?” the answer comes to us in the first and really all the following lines: she will grow into her voice, a humorous, clever, musical and thoroughly original voice.
And, when you hear that voice in the first few lines of the book, you know the person speaking them is OK. You know, in other words, that our protagonist emerges from her tough times as a distinct and memorable self. It’s all there in the opening where she tells the story of her birth and her “accidentally” being recorded as a bastard at the county office. Think of a bud at the end of a branch; all the season’s growth is in it in miniature. If you pull it apart carefully enough, you can see everything that will follow.
So, without dismissing Bone’s sustained experiences – as she grapples with moving all the time, with discovering her sexuality, with her attraction to religion and gospel music and, above all, with negotiating her step-father’s growing abuse – this novel is the story of how a girl becomes a woman, how she learns enough to tell her own story.
The violence, naïve sexuality, and confusion about what it means to love someone can be harrowing. Toward the end – which you really must read to understand the depths from which Bone recovers – it gets harder and harder to endure. Bone calls out for someone to help her and, within the novel, she lacks the language to make herself heard. Seeing that, experiencing her when she has no voice, makes that “end” – the original and strong character who emerges as our narrator at the beginning – even more compelling.
Listen to the music of her every sentence. Yes, this book matters for what happens, but it’s memorable for how it happens, for the wonderful human voice at the heart of it.
It ranks about a 8 out of 10 and that only because the ending left me without closure.
Bones. she was a strong little girl who cared more for her family than for herself.
She stayed in Character and I felt her age throughout the book.
Every family has secrets ..some or horrific!
This book was very eye opening, emotional and pretty disturbing. It kind of haunted me and made me feel uncomfortable to the point I wasn't sure I could finish it. It stirred so many emotions, I cried, I laughed a little at the southern aspect.I listened to the whole book and enjoyed the way the story was told the narrator was great, and I actually liked the story because it showed so much strength from bone, and so many points of views but it is very descriptive (which helped make the story good) but it is definitely not recommended for everyone.
I'm 30 years old, from the east coast of America, and my favorite books are realistic, but stretch the truth and the laws of physics.
I saw the movie when I was a teenager, and since then I never forgot the first scene of molestation. I thought I'd never want to read this book, but then I read Trash, this author's collection of short stories, in a writing class in college. I was instantly enthralled by this woman's writing style. It's so lovely and intimately descriptive that it can break your heart just by describing a couple of old women who cook biscuits for their family.
Rape is difficult to read about for most people, but understanding the harm it does is so, so important to American culture in general, or any culture. Also, if you can bring yourself to bear the difficult parts of this book, you'll be rewarded with one of the most deeply touching works you'll ever lay eyes on. I'm amazed at this author's ability and her realness.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. There is beauty, love, and hope etched in the story of Ruth Anne Boatwright (Bone), there is also tragedy, senseless violence, and hate. I laughed for her, I cried for her, I raged at her suffering. This book stands as a true testament of the resilience of the human spirit.
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