Monday, February 25, 2013

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Well, sometimes we just don't make good decisions!

In the last two months I've read Sister Citizen, The Darkest Child, and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, and that was a BAD decision. NEVER, and I mean NEVER read these three books in such a short span of time. It's enough to make a person go over the deep end. Toooooo much to think about!

In Sister Citizen, Melissa Harris-Perry talks about the three African America women stereotype types: Jezebel's sexual lasciviousness, Mammy's devotion, and Sapphire's outspoken anger. The Darkest Child and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie seem to perpetuate these images.

When the Negro national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, states, "felt in the days when hope unborn had died,"  that's how I felt about these novels: the characters' dreams were dead before they could even dream them.

In The Twelve of Hattie, one of the main characters, Hattie Shepard, has eleven children. Ayana does an incredible job of telling the eleven children's stories, one grandchild story, as well as, Hattie and her husband, August, stories. However, the stories are such gloomy stories, and they reminded me of The Darkest Child because of the hopeless tone.

All of Hattie's children and her marriage seemed to be effected by what was perceived as Hattie's anger, but I think that Hattie was not angry, but was just so busy cooking, cleaning, and trying to survive, until she forgot or didn't think to laugh or even smile. She showed her love through doing for her children and husband.

This novel, after reading Sister Citizen and The Darkest Child, forced me to think about Black women who appear to be Angry; how birth control is one of the best inventions ever; about the idea that today a woman does not have to settle for the first man who wants to marry her, or the fact that a woman never has to get married and can have a great life; about why are many African American books depressing with a lot of "unborn hope that has died;" is the strongblackwoman image killing us, our families, and communities etc.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a great, quick read. But, I do not recommend reading it after reading novels like Sister Citizen and The Darkest Child.

My people, I NEED a book that is not depressing and is not the same story that continues to perpetuate the same negative African American women images over and over and over again.....

So, I am going to read Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Join Me.....


ArchivedProfile said...

hmmm, Darkest Child is on my list but I already have Twelve Tribes. I managed to find a hard cover for $1 at a used books sale. But my friend didn't love it which made me bump it down on the priority list so maybe I will read Darkest Child first.

Do you know about Melissa Harris-Perry's Black Feminism Syallabus?

Jacqueline said...

Twelve Tribes may need to be revisited by me....

I will look up Melissa Harris-Perry's Black feminism Syllabus, but I am not a huge fan of hers.

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