The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Large Print - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2012]
ISBN: 9780804121026
Branch Call Number: LT FIC MATH
Characteristics: pages (large print) ; 24 cm


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ArapahoeAnnaL May 30, 2019

An NPR Best Book of the Year 2013, this historical novel is a moving family saga that takes place within the story of the Great Migration, when more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South moved to the cities of the North, Midwest and West from about 1916 to 1970. It's a compelling narrative of a strong woman and mother, her husband, and each of her children. All are sympathetic, yet flawed, characters, fascinating and realistic.

Oct 17, 2017

I stopped reading this about 30% in. I just didn't care.

Cynthia_N Sep 12, 2016

I could not really connect with the main character. I understood the issues she was dealing with but she was still not a likeable character.

Jun 17, 2015

Sad story of controlling mother & her 11 children & 1 grandchild. Discusses sorrowful yet contemporary issues and effect on adult children. Sensitive and realistic presentation of complex mental health issue and effect on grandchild. If you need a good cry, read this book.

Mar 24, 2015

Sweeping historical saga that tracks the challenges and triumphs of a dispersed family descended from slaves.

Karaelena Nov 04, 2014

Beautiful and tragic story. I loved her writing style. Each chapter told from a different view of each child. Will defintely look out for other titles from Ayana.

Feb 24, 2014

I started this on the recommendation of a colleague, but didn't get past the first 3 "stories". First, Hattie's twins die of pneumonia. Then, far in the future, her jazz-playing son questions his sexuality. By the time her badly burned and disfigured son wrestles with his faith and chosen path as a preacher I was longing for a different story. I don't often give up on books halfway, but I couldn't wait to swap this for something else. It just wasn't my kind of book. Sorry, Ayana Mathis!

Dec 16, 2013

Thank goodness for the hopeful ending!

Nov 07, 2013

I agree with most of the comments so far. Mathis chose an interesting format for the narrative, and I love the idea of telling a family's story through chapters in each member's voice; however, I too kept waiting for ONE glimmer of hope-- to no avail. It's hard to read (and believe) failure after failure, tragedy after tragedy... one needs a little joy here and there! Mathis' frame allowed her to span decades and portray her characters in various historical times and places, but the novelty of the structure wore off when I realized that all of my rooting for the title character and her family wouldn't make their lives any brighter. I closed the book and, before I said anything about its quality, said, "That was incredibly depressing."

This is a slog to read and does not resonate with any experience in my life. Parents of 12 children are inadequate. I was depressed reading this story and found it has no redeeming insights

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Jul 09, 2015

cesmomma thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Jul 13, 2015

I enjoyed this book. It was recommended for the Summer Reading Program. It is a quick reads and holds the readers attention.


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ArapahoeAnnaL May 30, 2019

She snatched the jar from the table and hurled it at the wall behind August. The two of them watched the butterflies, stunned and struggling in the broken glass. pg. 137


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