Friday, June 14

Book Review: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Title: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Author: Ayana Mathis

Pages: 256

Summary: 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.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was slow and character driven, but the author manage to create a very realistic cast of characters, who in the last chapters, left a haunting impression on me. While I may not have loved the book enough to inhale it in a sitting, it was a very good and worthy read.

The characters were well done. Both well created and developed, the author created a very interesting cast of characters, very flawed characters, and there are ones I found I disliked, but the author did a good job at creating a cast of very believable characters.

I did find that not all the stories connected together well, while the ongoing theme of Hattie and her influence on the children at the various points in life was there, I found that the book read as individual short stories, rather than a novel, or a collection of connected stories. There were times were the stories linked together, but I found most of them didn't flow into each other, which made for a choppy read. The last two stories/chapters in the book were both haunting and stunning, and were probably my favourite part of the entire book. It was the first time, everything was truly linked to create a novel, rather than interconnected short stories, and the focus point for the last to stories, was told wonderfully - it got me interested in the book again, after a few lulls in the book. They also gave me a whole new outlook on the book as a whole, and Hattie as a character.

In the end, I did end up enjoying the book quite a lot.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend it to read. There is a lot in the book to take from, and I think there are a lot of readers who would enjoy it.

What to read next: The Secret Life of Bees is the only book that pops into my mind.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, New Author Challenge


  1. This sounds good and I liked The Secret Life of Bees. They sound a little different but if the main themes are similar, it sounds like a winner.

  2. It was a good read in the end. It is very different then the Secret Life of Bees. But it was the only thing that popped into my head when I thought about other books to read.