My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a book. A beautiful, sad, joyous, expansive tale of a mother and her children, told over the course of all of their lives.
First thoughts: I loved the format - a chapter for each of Hattie's children (tribes). We get to see glimpses of Hattie at various stages of motherhood, and we delve into a defining moment of each child's life. Using the titles of each chapter (years and the children's names) we piece together a family portrait spanning several generations. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is like a collection of connected short stories, each one a unique literary treat.
"It seemed to him that every time he made one choice in his life, he said no to another." -Lawrence, p78
"It seemed to him that he could never get a proper grip on any of the beauty in this world." -August, p87
"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." - Hattie, p236
Recommended for: Everyone should read Ayana Mathis's first novel (and wait eagerly for her next one!).
Final thoughts: Reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was the kind of reading experience all readers want - easy without being boring, entertaining without being farcical, and meaningful without being preachy.
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