Thursday, May 15, 2014
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
I loved reading about Hattie's children. This book is not your typical read. The book opens in 1925 with the story of Hattie's first born twins, Philadelphia and Jubilee, and continues with a view into the lives of her twelve children. I read many negative reviews and put this book on the back burner for quite some time because of what I had heard. I am glad I decided to take a chance and read these "short stories." This book is beautiful in a way that takes you into another atmosphere. You cannot have a mediocre soul or you will not enjoy this book. You have to be prepared to take this book for what it is. It is writing that is purely heartbreaking in its honesty. This is what people go through in life, this is real struggle. We all know that everything is not coming up daisies in life and Mathis was not afraid to pen that to paper. The family relationships, the affairs, the sex, the hope, the struggle; it is all in there. It proves that just because a family can move out of oppression does not mean that the oppression ever stops coursing through their blood. Everyday is a survival and Hattie did her best to raise her children in the right way. She wanted to raise them into soldiers in order to fight in the battle of life. I truly felt Hattie's character, her pain and her heart when I reached page (236), "She had failed them in vital ways, but what good would it have done to spend the days hugging and kissing if there hadn't been anything to out in their bellies? They didn't understand that all the love she had was taken up with feeding them and clothing them and preparing them to meet the world. The world would not love them; the world would not be kind." I have read complaints from other readers regarding the format of this book. Yes, it is a series of short stories. No, it is not written with a plot and the characters do not intertwine except for the fact that they share the same mother and father. Does that matter? Does one need a plot in order to enjoy a story, a book for what it is? Accept this book for what it is and I think you will see the beauty and the treasure in it. I did.