Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

#6 Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

I picked this up at the Women's Center Library when I forgot to bring Caramelo with me one day. I don't know what I was expecting. It's written beautifully but the story is hard to take. I haven't decided how I feel about it yet. I buzzed through it in a day and thought that I knew what was going to happen but I was very,very, wrong. Silly me, I hoped for the best for the narrator but, of course, the exact opposite happens and the ambiguous finale didn't leave me feeling very hopeful for her. The end was especially hard to take. I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a tear or two.

As a side note, a lot of the books I have read about people of color and/or are poor include some sort of understanding that these people know more about human nature or can sense how people feel/operate just by where they come from, which family they are a part of, how they look, stand etc. I don't know if I like this or not. Is it somehow because these people are assumed to be more connected to nature than people who are white/wealthy? Or that they spend so much time together and in close proximity with others that they are better at understanding people? Is this stereotypical? Or just a literary conceit? Has anyone else noticed this? Any English folk out there who know more about this than I do? Part of me thinks that it would be cool to have that ability but another part feels like it's making a snap judgement from very little information. Especially in this book, I think that "reading" people like that is detrimental to Bone, the narrator. Her family tells her she is bad, because of her grandparents were. She believes them and does bad things because she is "bad". I wonder how she would have acted if she didn't have that label assigned to her.


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