African American Literature,  America,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  History

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis *** (of 4)

hattiejpg-3519a9cd782a1f72This first novel captures the bleak experience of Hattie, the black mother of a dozen kids, who has come north as part of The Great Migration.  Escaping Jim Crow south to settle in Philadelphia and struggling to keep her head above a rising tide of poverty, poor relationships, wayward children, and a philandering husband, we read a series of loosely tied short stories about each of Hattie’s children.  The painted pictures are rich with detail and character but poor Hattie is the bible’s Job.  She is tested over and over and while she manages to maintain her pride, I was beaten down in the process.