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Bastard out of Carolina: (Plume Essential…

Bastard out of Carolina: (Plume Essential Edition) (edition 2005)

by Dorothy Allison

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3,685791,427 (4.01)127
Title:Bastard out of Carolina: (Plume Essential Edition)
Authors:Dorothy Allison
Info:Plume (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
First book by author and is semi-autobiographical, it is set in Greenville, South Carolina in the 50's. For some reason I had originally thought this was the story of a black girl, then realized that Ruth "Bones" Boatwright is white. This is a story of family and family loyalties, Bone suffers abuse at the hands of her stepfather, Daddy Glen, and this book is about not only how Bone deals with the abuse, but how her whole family deals with it. Loyalties are tested and hard choices are made. The family is lower-class and poor in the South in the 50's and 60's and the family members often stick to their traditional gender stereotypes. I thought it was really well written, and the story was engaging. It was a can't put down read for me. Being such a controversial book, I have read plenty on the story line, and I may have even seen the movie once. So I knew the general storyline before I read, but that didn't stop me from wanting to know what would happen next. I cried that whole last chapter because I was so invested in the characters.

For more reviews, please read my blog: http://adventuresofabibliophile.blogs.com ( )
  Serinde24 | Sep 27, 2014 |
completed 7/2/14. 4.5 stars ( )
  bookmagic | Jul 7, 2014 |
Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina is my current new favorite book, and I don’t say that lightly. On Goodreads, I have a “my favorites” list, but I rarely add books to it. Last year I read 48 books and added 2 to the “my favorites” list, so this is big, guys.

Bastard Out of Carolina is the story of Bone, an illegitimate (I hate that term) Southern girl who wants nothing more than for her mother’s allegiance to lie with her, rather than with Bone’s abusive stepfather. From the time she is a small child, Daddy Glen abuses her in every way possible — emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually. Rather than divorcing Daddy Glen, Bone’s mother foists her daughter off on various aunts to keep her out of the house and out of harm’s way, leaving Bone feeling abandoned, punished, and angry. But Daddy Glen’s abuse continues to escalate throughout the novel, leading to a harrowing ending.

To me, characters are the most important aspect of a novel, and Bone was definitely in my Top 10. She was so honest, and so complex and hurt and strong. I love emotional books, especially ones where you are really rooting for a character who is struggling within herself. Because not only did Bone feel anger toward her mother and stepfather, she also had internal struggles: feeling as though she was “bad,” poor, trash, etc. and didn’t fit within either her immediate or extended family.

I also really appreciate a strong female “cast” in novels, and this book had just that. These women were very real — they struggled with families, illness, poverty. I especially liked Bone’s aunt Raylene, a lesbian who formed a foil for her straight (and often men-dependent) sisters. She was strong and cared for Bone when Bone’s mother could not.

I was captivated by this novel. It wasn’t particularly fast-paced, but it felt as though it was, because Bone’s internal conflict was ever-changing and intense. The last thirty pages were so incredibly heartrending I could hardly put the novel down, even after I had finished it. It was one of those books that I wanted to lament and exclaim and gush over with other people (and I proceeded to highly recommend it to several friends). ( )
  blackrabbit89 | Jun 24, 2014 |
I'm looking forward to rereading this sometime in the future. It's vivid, sometimes painfully so; it's strong and fearless; it's incredibly powerful. I've read wonderful works that I would describe the same way but this narrative is somehow different. There's raw honesty behind each and every word--a rawness that only Allison can write with grit, beauty, and pain. ( )
  AaronKappel | May 22, 2014 |
I was given the opportunity to read this for free in exchange for an honest review from librarything.com.

First off I want to say that I am honored to have received a copy of this book. I was a senior in high school when it was published, and although I do not remember the book's release, I do remember when the movie came out. It was always on my to watch list, but I never got around to seeing the movie. Now I am glad that I did not, at least before I read the book.

I, too, was raised in the south, but I was born 20 years after this books setting. I was also born illegitimate. It really hit home with me at how much different my life COULD have been. My saving grace was that my mother decided she did not ever want to marry, therefore I did not have to worry about any type of "Daddy Glen" being around. This story is heartbreaking and gut wrenching, but all too real in so many households, even today.

It is a shame that in the afterward, the author talks about people STILL banning this book. Maybe it isn't for a young teen, but I feel juniors or seniors in high school would take away good life's lessons by reading it. Possibly about how not to judge people only on their appearance, how other people go through bad things too, or even to just show some compassion. This generation sees sex and violence everywhere now days, and their parents are fine with that. Why not read a semi-biography on someone's pain?

I recommend this book to anyone with a heart. ( )
  LoriHopkins | Mar 16, 2014 |
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People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead.

-James Baldwin
For Mama Ruth Gibson Allison 1935-1990
First words
I've been called Bone all my life, but my name's Ruth Anne.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
This book is fiction, but it comes so real with the feeling of an amateur autobiography. The author is so descriptive, she takes you to the time and place and puts you right there watching it all happen. It was a very captivating, but sad story.
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Ruth Ann Boatwright, a South Carolina bastard, tells her life with her family and the emotional and physical violence she experiences.

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