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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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3,739821,396 (4.01)139
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 82 (next | show all)
This book is so raw, painful, gutsy, vivid and honest it leaves a hole in your heart.

Semi-autobiographical, this is the story of Bone, a child born to southern 'white trash' in Carolina, to a family where illegitimacy, criminality, abuse and hopelessness are a way of life, part of an inevitable cycle that passes from generation to generation.

But this is so much more than yet another survival memoir - this is flawless fiction which I would go so far as to say is of a standard up there with To Kill a Mockingbird (and I don't say that lightly).

Everything in this novel is so vivid. The physical surroundings - the dilapidated houses in the wrong part of town, the dirt ingrained in the window sills, the grassless yards, iced tea on rotting porches, trash floating up the weed encrusted river, the meals of biscuits and gravy, the country music peppering evenings on the porch, the hot days and cool nights. The Boatwright family themselves - the uncles who fall in and out of jobs and jail; the aunts with umpteen kids and no expectations; the forthright granny who pulls no punches; the mother who compartmentalises her love for her child from her love for the man who is destroying that child.

Allison so deftly gets under the skin of the complexities of poverty and abuse, of choiceless existences, of the strength and complications of family love in this environment, of how the impact of all of this can inevitably set out a child's path in life from far too early an age. It's makes for difficult reading in parts - it touches on realities most of us would prefer to sweep under the carpet than visualise, but it's profoundly impacting, bringing the hidden violence of our communities out into the open.

There's no warm, fuzzy feeling by the end of this book - this is a book to immensely respect and appreciate. I don't know about the rest of the world, but it's certainly under the radar in the UK, and most undeservedly so.

5 stars. An immense writing achievement. ( )
3 vote AlisonY | Apr 24, 2015 |
This is such a well-written book that one forgets about how distasteful some of the subject matter is. I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in masterful use of the language. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
This is such a well-written book that one forgets about how distasteful some of the subject matter is. I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in masterful use of the language. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
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 |
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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
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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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