The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis


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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 279 reviews.
Hipster_dufas1 More than 1 year ago
I don't always agree with Oprah, but this one is definitely a winner. Grabs you from the beginning and doesn't lrt go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book, but wished the characters would have been developed further. Did not care for the sudden ending.
VirtuousV More than 1 year ago
Life is not always what you expect.  When you make choices whether to choose one thing or one person over another you belief that you've made the right choice.  The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is about sexuality, adultery, life, consequences, circumstances and choices.  In 1923, Hattie Shepherd, was just fifteen years old, when she made the decision to leave Georgia for a better life in Philadelphia to start a family and become a wife. Her life was hard, challenging and the decisions she made were based upon her in-experiences of life.  These challenges, as seen through the eyes of her children, caused them tremendous stress, dysfunction and unforgiveness throughout their adulthood. Her children did not fully understand that she too was young and inexperienced to make these types of decisions but Hattie did not fully understand that her inexperience decisions would cause indecisiveness in the development of her children.  A decision that Hattie made came back to haunt her years later through the decision of her daughter.  Ayana Mathis takes us on a journey to generational curses and how they can greatly affect the future.  
TurqStarfire More than 1 year ago
A very powerful first novel !!! Ayana Mathis has this incredible talent to make the reader feel every ounce of Hattie's pain and anguish... it was almost like I was Hattie and it was happening to me....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate this kind of writing. There is no plot, no moral, no fully formed characters. There also are no redeeming features to this depressing drivel whatsoever. It reminds me of high school girls writing overly dramatic essays full of 'OMG!' That speaks to the depth of the novel adequately. Perhaps someday this author can find a true voice which speaks of joy, redemption, or lessons learned. Or, novel idea, tells a STORY! I admit I was caught by the Oprah hook, much to my regret. Readers, find a good book to spend your hard earned dollars on and give this author a wide berth until she really has something to say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so wanted to love this book.   When will I learn that if Oprah puts her seal on it, odds are the book will be steeped in realism, which in itself is OK, but this one teased of an ending that would be redeemed by Hattie's humanity finally being explored.  I didn't need happy endings or anyone being saved, but the ending was just too abrupt with Hattie.s anger and sadness ending only because she was too old and tired to hang on to them.  The hours spent reinvested in reading the book feel wasted.  Surely, one of the characters would have c grown  to have at least 1 happy day in their  lives?  If so the book doesn't even allude to one.  Big downer!
JackieRNY More than 1 year ago
This is not an uplifting book and the characters are, for the most part, sad and miserable. The beginning was good and caught my attention, but after the first few pages it was not as captivating. Wish I had just taken it out of the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would still recommend reading this but wish the characters would have come full circle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like the type of story where everybody is miserable their entire lives and no matter what choices the different characters make then you'll like this book. I just don't see the point to yet another book where everyone's lives turn out horribly simply because the author thinks they will get reviews with words like "riveting" or "mesmerizing" or whatever else. The ending seemed like the author ran out of ideas and ended it abruptly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It caught my attention in the begining but it Never got to the point .. miserable doomed characters and a quick pointless ending.... boooooo
Juni2372 More than 1 year ago
Personally, Ioved this book. Not a huge Oprah Book Club fan. This book, however, grabbed my attention and heart immediately and carried me quickly to the ending. Definite read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why did I buy this book, why did I read the whole thing? I kept hoping something positive or redeeming would happen, something that would be the aha moment of investing time in reading this. It's not there. Why does Oprah recommend this book?! Is she friends with the author?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't even finish this book. It jumps around so much and makes no sense. I wish I had not wasted my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I wanted to know more about each character's story. It was almost like reading a collection of short stories.
Giovina More than 1 year ago
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a rare debut novel. The story is captivating from the very first page. I could not read fast enough to know what was going to happen next. I purchased the hardcover and the e-book as I was going on a trip for a few days and didn't want to miss any time I could be reading! Ms. Mathis writes like a seasoned veteran of the printed word. I truly look forward to her next work. Thank you Ms. Mathis for this special treat in fine writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this book had lots of promise, it failed to deliver. The book doesn't flow smoothly. I found myself guessing who the character was. with each new chapter I would have to assume that it was one of Hatties children talking. It would skip back and forth and really didn,t flow.
oop4dst More than 1 year ago
I'm really enjoying this book. You don't know what to expect with each new chapter (tribe/child of Hattie). Each chapter covers one of Hattie's children. You have to read the chapter to kind of figure out what's going on and I love that it's not predictable. It's definitely a great read for a book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read, and i am dissapointed to see others reviews. The story is told in a family's point of view as opposed to just a single character's view, and as unlikable or difficult one character is, you see thier view and understand them. Highly recommended. I am so glad i found this book, I didn't want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book only wish the writer would have told how.each child's life was either made better or how what happened to them. And nothing else was mentioned about the daughter hattie had by Lawrence. I really liked the book but was left with questions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it with our book club. Did not care for the writing as it was awkward. The format of each chapter being on a different person and time was interesting and unique. Stories were depressing and most of the characters very strange. Would have liked just a few to be achievers or overcome their circumstances. What an odd collection. The think I liked the least is that there seemed to be no message or lesson here about life. What a sad glimpse into a family's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Read it before Oprah put it on her list. My mom came from a big family like this. It helped me realize how no matter how much a mother loves her children each child does not receive it the same and shouldn't be treated the same. You can never tell how your children will turn out.
mshoni More than 1 year ago
Over the years, I've developed an affinity for the short story format that I once despised. Mathis uses the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North to kick off this saga of a family's history told through linked short stories. After moving from Georgia to Philadelphia, 15 year old Hattie and her husband August have settled in their new city and are celebrating the birth of their twins, Philadelphia and Jubilee. In the first story, named for the twins, Hattie is nursing them through a bout of pneumonia.  Two pages in, I was hooked. The writing was so vivid and beautiful that I felt that I was in the room with those sick babies and was moved to tears while reading on my commute to work. (I'm sure the other passengers thought I was going through some things.)  Each subsequent chapter focuses on the couple's 9 other children and takes us from 1925 to the 1980's giving us insight not only into the lives of each person, but also the nature of the family dynamic and each person's role in it. Children from large families at times have very different relationships with their parents than their siblings and I love that each story reflected that while also checking in with Hattie and August.
good_women_2013 More than 1 year ago
Ayana Mathis’The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was an emotional journey from beginning to the very last word of the book. The dynamics in which she portrayed her tribes left many readers unsure about, although obvious, to me, whom was Hattie’s ‘twelfth tribe’. Hattie-- a courageous, callous, strong yet loving mother and wife left a lot to be desired. She was described as a beautiful woman physically but life circumstances created an ‘undesired’ and ‘unfair’ portrait of her. The author amazingly draws you into Hattie’s and the characters life with vivid depictions of the times and environment. Leaving no stone unturned current issues we face and struggle with today were very much apparent in times past – marital woes, infidelity, sexual identity crisis, discrimination, sibling relationships, forgiveness, mental illness, poverty and suffering. Every reader will relate to some part of Hattie and the characters, even if it’s just a micro inkling of that ‘something’ that will cause some comfort to know that ‘there indeed isn’t anything new under the sun’ and at that point is when you will begin to understand Hattie and not judge her so harshly. However, you have to remove your shades of judgment as you visit each tribe …hang in there, exercise patience. The kind of patience you feel you deserve when you make decisions that were not very wise and pray that you are given another opportunity for a ‘do over’. As a mother, I know we sometimes have to make decisions to ‘the best of our ability’ that those looking from the outside don’t understand. Granted ‘the best of our ability’ entails many components such as our past experiences, emotions, education & the duty of the moment that many aren’t privy too or would approve. Having been in need of ‘grace & mercy’ in my past, present and days to come ‘The Twelve Tribes of Hattie’ enlightened my remembrance of the NEW mercies God grants us every morning! I purposely didn’t disclose a lot of details about the book because I hope that if you haven’t read it this review will entice you to do so and then come back and join the discussion. I felt Hattie was a complex character and the more I read the more I began to see the beauty in the picture Mathis was painting. But as the dots began to form visually for me the more I began to strike my presupposition of labeling her callous to realizing it was strength, yet strange and somewhat foreign. As I closed my Kindle I became hopeful and was gently nudged to remember ‘change is possible’! To my BBC members and our Facebook Friends who have read the book please briefly share your thoughts of Hattie or any of the other characters. ~ Katie Brownstone Book Club Member
MicheleMMB More than 1 year ago
Worthwhile read.  A look at how our choices, other's choices and our community can affect our lives and the lives of those we love.  Many mother's of young children can related how you pulled in so many levels to meet so many needs  that at the end of the day you have nothing left for yourself.  Multiply those feeling times 11 children and a useless husband.  You are the sole responsible one.  You understand how Hattie is looked at as a "General" by her children, cold and unfeeling.  She is just "trying to the best she can" and get her children for the real world. Many didn't like the abrupt ending.  I thought it was wonderful.  In her granddaughter she realizes she can support her without pushing her away.  She had the courage to give Sala tenderness,  although "rough", which was a huge stepping step for Hattie after 55 years of being "the general."
crucesignatus More than 1 year ago
TRASH! What could have been a sympathetic account of a black woman's struggles and travails, the loss of her two young children, by the second chapter took a plunge into gratuitous filth of the kind once peddled under plain brown wrappers. Worse yet was the message of Hattie raising her children without affection or kindness so that they could survive in a cruel world, a prescription for sociopathic behavior, depression, or suicide. If this book was screened at all, it was not past the first few pages. Oprah should have read it and not given her uncritical endorsement simply because the author was young, aspiring, and black.