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Customer Review

182 of 209 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misandry on display, December 11, 2012
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This review is from: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition) (Kindle Edition)
The writing here is indeed superb, but the story is a bit disjointed and the treatment of black males in this novel is absolutely horrendous. Here is a quote from USA Today, "With one or two exceptions, the male characters in this book make Alice Walker's The Color Purple read like a celebration of the strong black man." That comes from a woman, and those exceptions she mentions are fleeting at best.

The book starts off with a painful experience, but the writing and situation draws you in immediately. From that opening chapter it seems like everything goes downhill. Hattie never seems to quite recover from this event. Her husband August, is nowhere to be found during this calamity. The subsequent chapters are told from the 12 different children's perspective with varying degrees of effectiveness. Some of the chapters feel unconnected to the book as a whole, predicaments are mentioned and then never followed up on.

I know this book and author have already been anointed as the next big thing, and based on her prose I do understand why. I could only go 3 stars because the misandry was suffocating, and I sincerely hope that doesn't account for all the attention this novel has garnered, I would find that very disappointing.
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 17, 2012, 4:00:20 PM PST
Eric Selby says:
I agree completely about the ways in which these men were depicted. There wasn't a male who had any redeeming qualities, suggesting that the women bore all the problems which just isn't reality. Sure it's fiction, and the author can do what she wishes. But that skews the verisimilitude.I had other issues as well, including statements that were jarring errors. I'll just mention one of several: "hooking a braided rug." You don't "hook" a braided rug. You "braid" it!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012, 6:03:43 PM PST
Read-A-Lot says:
I agree, I like the line, "skews the verisimilitude."

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2013, 10:36:16 PM PST
N. Harbin says:
Ok, I have to look that word up ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2013, 12:04:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 3, 2013, 12:05:25 PM PST
Just wondering -- has there EVER been a best-selling book by a black female author with strong, admirable, well-fleshed male characters? Ever? Besides pro-athletes and Obama, the images we see of black males are largely negative. I am not saying there is some kind of Plot Afoot, but I really do get sick of reading about no-good lowdown black men mistreating their wimmins.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2013, 8:16:15 PM PST
Read-A-Lot says:
Good question, one recent read was "if Sons Then Heirs" by Lorene Cary. There are certainly not many, and it is rather depressing.

Posted on Jan 4, 2013, 8:53:09 AM PST
Kathleen says:
The writing is superb? That is something I would not say about this book...The title is superb, but what's behind the title lacks cohesiveness. It is a sad story, but I didn't feel sad because the writing was so bad. If an author wants me to feel something, then write with passion and heart. Write with pride.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2013, 10:45:14 PM PST
Read-A-Lot says:
You thought the writing was BAD?

Posted on Jan 6, 2013, 5:47:32 AM PST
What bothered me most is that it began as the story of any "immigrant" looking for a better life, but almost all the characters defeat themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2013, 8:42:23 AM PST
S. Gray says:
Often times in real life, in situations where women are oppressed, economically, socially and culturally, there are no redeeming men. That's life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013, 6:15:36 AM PST
Read-A-Lot says:
Ahh, yes S. Gray, but isn't fiction about creating characters? So, if this is all Ms. Mathis has seen in her life, why not create the type of man she would like to see in the world? At least one.
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