A debut of extraordinary distinction: through the trials of one unforgettable family, Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration, a story of love and bitterness and the promise of a new America.
In 1923, 15-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.
Captured here in 12 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 glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life.
©2013 Ayana Mathis (P)2013 Random House Audio
I would listen to it again to understand what I missed the first time.
I would compare this book to Mama Flora's Family by Alex Haley and David Stevens
When Hattie was in church with her Granddaughter
I loved the characters, and how they all viewed their mother. It's always amazed me how siblings can grow up on the same household, but turn out different.
I enjoyed hearing about each child
The emotion in he voice. It's very moving.
For some reason Six sticks out to me. I think it's because I view his eventual outcome, based on Hattie's revelation, as typical southern preacher.
The varied saga of Hattie's life. Eeach character was unique in the drama of thebook. Each tells its own story as one of Hatties children.
This is my first and I enjoyed listening to the work of Ms. Mathis and was very pleased. Great writing, performance and narrating.
I had a few; the death of Philadelphia and Jubilee; Six as a preacher in Alabama and Floyd and Lafayette, Lawrence and Bell and Hattie. They all sound like real-life dramas.
"And they say"
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I did not know what to expect. Thought it was just another slavery story but was very pleased with the build-up of the characters and the performances and narrations were great! I gathered strength from Hattie and her woes. I was surprised by the abrupt ending which led me wonder if a second book is in the making. In all of the hurt that Bell felt toward Hattie, Hattie was there for Bell in the end.
Great work Ms. Mathis
No, unfortunately not. I REALLY wanted to love this book, but came away disappointed. Story wasn't particularly interesting. And the writing style . . . seems like a little bit of editing would have gone a long way.
The scenes written from Cassie's perspective as she struggles with mental illness.
I was never able to develop any empathy or admiration for any of the characters. I was relieved when I finally finished it. Best of the "tribes" was the story of Ella and Pearl and I would have liked to heard more of that one. The most likeable character was August even though he was a no account lady's man for most of the novel. He loved his children and wife and I wonder how he felt about giving up Ella. Did he know? I did not care for Hattie at all.
Not heavily. For a human interest piece, it was a well-written and assembled novel. However, the interest and reader involvement wasn’t high. A story that doesn’t involve the reader can still be a good story. But a story that draws you in is quite a different experience. This book, this set of stories about Hattie and her marriage, relationships with her children and other man, while interesting, does not draw you into the experience. While reading I could have put the book down at any moment and not picked it back up.
Maybe, depends on what other choices are out there. I would probably not read from this author again, while the book was interesting, it wasn’t really worth my time.
I liked Ella the best, the story of Hattie’s child given up to her sister. I think a close second would be the gay son, as his struggle with sexuality and the shame he felt was superbly portrayed.
I guess I think differently about experiences people had during that time period.
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