The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

by Ayana Mathis

HarperCollins Canada | December 6, 2012 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 6.

The newest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection

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.

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423475

ISBN - 13: 9781443423472

Found in: Fiction and Literature
From its devastating first chapter to its perfect last sentence, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie never ceases to astonish. Ayana Mathis’ first novel is one of the strongest debuts of 2012, and will be talked about, shared and loved for years to come. Mathis tells the story of Hattie Shepherd as she and her family navigate, negotiate, and survive the twentieth century. Each chapter moves from child to child, and through them Mathis paints a portrait of a mother who has sacrificed everything, not for her children’s happiness, but for their mere existence. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an accomplishment in that even while Mathis shows us the depths of selfishness, cruelty, and betrayal, she finds moments to let a ray of light shine through dirty windows. She allows her characters to be real – infuriatingly and often tragically real – but so real that you’ll be frustrated at their failings and joyful at their moments of quiet optimism. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a book that will live with you long after the last page. It is a book that showcases the talent of a powerful new voice in fiction, and it is certainly a book that deserves to be on everyone’s list this holiday. I loved, loved, loved this book.

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Multi-generational tragedy This book sat on my shelf for years. It was completely unexpected and reads like a dozen short stories tied together by Hattie. Each chapter tells the tragic tale of another of Hattie's children, their quests for love and acceptance, and their ongoing unfortunate circumstances. As per usual with an Oprah's pick, the book was a bit depressing and sad. But, I was more "entertained" than I anticipated.
Date published: 2014-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So sad This novel was heartbreaking, and not because the writer was attempting to write a "sad story". It is heartbreaking because it is so true to life. Not everything smells like roses, and there are few who end up where they want to be. A mother does everything out of love for her children, and her children do not feel loved. I could cry thinking about this book.
Date published: 2013-04-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from blah I thought it was boring.There wasn't one endearing character.
Date published: 2013-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Twelve Cheers! First time author Ayana Mathis scores big with this riveting tale about a mother raising nine children in poverty stricken Philadelphia. Each chapter is devoted to a child where we learn about their relationship with Hattie and her shortcomings as a mother and wife. Hattie's anger and bitterness leaves her children lacking and her husband wanting. I'm still not sure if I liked Hattie but I loved this book! Ingenious way to tell a story.
Date published: 2013-02-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie This book is both a Heather's Pick and a selection for the Oprah Book Club 2.0. Many people will buy it for those reasons, and many people will be disappointed. If people like a book to have at least a spark of happiness in it somewhere, they will be disappointed. There is no joy to be found in the tribes of Hattie. If people like characters to journey through hardships to redemption, they will be disappointed. The unfortunate tribes of Hattie spiral into disillusionment or bitterness. The book introduces us to the many children of Hattie Shepherd. An unplanned teenage pregnancy starts Hattie on her long road of motherhood, and we read how the lives of her children unfold in any number of dysfunctional ways. Each chapter features a different child or two, and the stories of those children overlap with those of the others in the family only peripherally. The result is disjointed and unsatisfying. The word "tribe" in the title misleads prospective book buyers into believing that they will read about a family with a long reach and lingering legacy. The reality of the story is the opposite. The characters strangle themselves with their own flaws and sputter out before reaching far or creating legacy. Hattie and her husband, August, are the only threads that run through the book, and they are not easy characters to love. The author alludes to the biblical story of Job. Even Job gets to see God at the end of his story. He has his fortune restored and then doubled. Poor Hattie. She just walks away from the church, still struggling to show someone some tenderness.
Date published: 2013-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! From its devastating first chapter to its perfect last sentence, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie never ceases to astonish. Ayana Mathis’ first novel is one of the strongest debuts of 2012, and will be talked about, shared and loved for years to come. Mathis tells the story of Hattie Shepherd as she and her family navigate, negotiate, and survive the twentieth century. Each chapter moves from child to child, and through them Mathis paints a portrait of a mother who has sacrificed everything, not for her children’s happiness, but for their mere existence. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an accomplishment in that even while Mathis shows us the depths of selfishness, cruelty, and betrayal, she finds moments to let a ray of light shine through dirty windows. She allows her characters to be real – infuriatingly and often tragically real – but so real that you’ll be frustrated at their failings and joyful at their moments of quiet optimism. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a book that will live with you long after the last page. It is a book that showcases the talent of a powerful new voice in fiction, and it is certainly a book that deserves to be on everyone’s list this holiday. I loved, loved, loved this book.
Date published: 2012-12-05

– More About This Product –

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

by Ayana Mathis

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423475

ISBN - 13: 9781443423472

From the Publisher

The newest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection

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.

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.

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