The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis

HarperCollins | December 6, 2012 | Hardcover

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is rated 3.85 out of 5 by 20.

Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Pick!

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can't afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 1 in

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423467

ISBN - 13: 9781443423465

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 5 out of 5 by from The twelve tribes of Hattie Powerful!-the kind of book u read with your imagination.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not sure This book never let's you get too involved with the characters as it's moved on to the next as soon as you begin to empathize. Not as good as I wanted it to be... Was expecting more, very short read
Date published: 2014-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review title? Great story, artfully told.
Date published: 2014-05-20
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 3 out of 5 by from Review title? The book offered you a glimps in one woman's life through her children,s stories. It shows how one terrible experience shapes the rest of her life and love. I enjoyed this book but found it to be very tragic. Hattie was a woman who had an ability for physical love but she has difficult for maternal love. A must read !
Date published: 2013-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The twelve tribes of Hatie It's been a long while since a book has captivated me so. I loved the way the characters unfolded, chapter by chapter. Each with their own story, connected by their beginnings. Could not put it down.
Date published: 2013-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The twelve tribes of Hatie It's been a long while since a book has captivated me so. I loved the way the characters unfolded, chapter by chapter. Each with their own story, connected by their beginnings. Could not put it down.
Date published: 2013-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie Great read...follows the lives of a struggling working class black woman in Philadelphia and her 12 children during the past century.
Date published: 2013-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The struggle we all feel... This book has so many layers of emotion, some so raw I felt it as it were myself, others so heartbreaking you hope to never know this pain. This book was a surprise read for me, something I normally would never had picked. I shed tears from the start and when I read the last line, I wanted there to be more.
Date published: 2013-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Twelve tribes of Hattie I read a lot and would give this book thumbs up it is well constructed with chapters tying to get her with a theme of hope and endurance. Such a variety of characters flowing from,it seems,one woman, who is the core of story. I was taken by the author's knowledge of homosexuality, mental illness, colored elitism. All being looked at through the prism of the times. Well done.
Date published: 2013-05-06
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 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful! So eloquently written. After the first chapter I was hooked!
Date published: 2013-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Oprah was right on! This book helped me understand how difficult it was to be a mother who had little control over her life -- especially when she was black and poor during the great immigration of her people to the North. The disillusion they suffered was shattering. Thank God there was a semblance of hope for Hattie's granddaughter to find her own way.
Date published: 2013-03-12
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 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Heart wrenching. Hopeful. A wonderful read!
Date published: 2013-01-27
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 3 out of 5 by from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A very enjoyable book. Hard to put down.
Date published: 2013-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A very enjoyable book. Hard to put down.
Date published: 2013-01-08
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

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 1 in

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423467

ISBN - 13: 9781443423465

From the Publisher

Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Pick!

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can't afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

About the Author

AYANA MATHIS is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she studied under Paul Harding and Marilynne Robinson, and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship.The Twelve Tribes of Hattieis her first novel.

From Our Editors

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can't afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

Editorial Reviews

"A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in tits purity and rigour... This first novel is a rare work of maturity." -- Marilynne Robinson ()