The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – A Book Review

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis 

Good writing through out the book, full marks on that account.


The story, rather the smaller stories within, fluctuates in terms of span of attention or interest of the reader. The story starts on a very sad note, where the new mother, Hattie, looses her twins a boy and a girl to pneumonia. The sorrow of this episode hangs over whatever happens in the rest of the story.

Hattie leaves Georgia with eyes full of dreams of better life in Philadelphia. But dreams and reality are poles apart. Racism, poverty and her helplessness in birth control adds to her struggles.15 chapters, describe the emotional turmoil of her 11 children because she could never get over with the tragedy and so couldn’t bestow her motherly affection towards her other children.

Each of her children is differently abled and talented, yet they struggle to express themselves freely. Her son Six, has all the potential to be a good preacher, yet his self esteem is so low he fails to pursue the role. One can only feel sad. Her daughter Cassie is mentally unstable and parts of her story is painful reading.

Frankly I have skipped pages while reading the book. Couple of times I read the initial part of the story of one her tribe, skip the chapter and proceed to next. No problems with losing the thread of the main story. The only message I could derive is: parents play a big role in the success of their children’ life. The stories of the children are left incomplete, may be the writer, Ayana Mathis is planning a sequel to the book.

Hattie is given the charge of her grandchild at the age of 71, Cassie’s daughter; if you have it in you to read about people who never learn from lessons of life, then this is ‘the’ book.

This is part of  book review program with MySmartPrice.

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2 Responses

  1. Meena says:

    whats this "MySmartPrice" all abt? Hmm book seems meodramatic huh?

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