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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis Dr. Taylor below asked me my reasoning for two stars so I shall try my best to state why


I guess I should be forthright: I'm not someone who enjoys an anthology of short stories. I have a hard enough time saying goodbye to my characters after having just finished a 400page book. While I knew that this would be separate vignettes about each of Hattie's children, I thought it would be better connected. The stories, to me, had little to do with one another and I have to say that I didn't see myself even liking many of these characters. Was it because she spent about forty pages on them? Perhaps.

Not only did this book lack any kind of connection between characters, it lacked understanding, for me at least, between relationships as time progressed. You'll read a story about one of her sons set in the 30s where little to nothing is mentioned of their siblings. The following chapter is set in the 40s and you're suddenly jolted into another sibling's life, trying to think about how this new person relates to the person you just read about in the previous chapter and often, there would be little connection.

I was disappointed by this book. I had started reading The Warmth of Other Sons, which I really ought to revisit and thought this would be a nice, shorter and fictionalized read, especially given Wilkerson's review of the Twelve Tribes of Hattie in the NYT Book Review. I just ended up disappointed, wanting more.