I just put down The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis and I am so overwhelmed with emotion.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an amazing fictionalized memoir of the Shepard family, with Hattie as the matriarch. It also happens to be the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 pick, and it’s outstanding.
Hattie is a woman with many children and a not-so-wonderful husband, August. Each chapter is told by one of Hattie’s children. Through their individual stories, the reader learns about Hattie and August, the individual child (as he/she grows into adulthood, etc), and how everything fits together as a whole.
Each person in the Shepard family experiences the same feeling of being alone, being separated for some reason, but they have a common thread of having Hattie as a mother.
Mathis takes you on this family journey from Six Shepard who is overcome by fits of religion and anger and takes to preaching, to Bell who does something horrible to her mother Hattie and feels like it’s her time to die, to Hattie’s own experiences in the south as compared to the north.
Check out this short video on the evolution of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, where Ayana Mathis shows where she wrote most of the novel, as well as a little clip of her from the Oprah show.
What do you think of Oprah’s picks?
Thanks for reading,