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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-hitting, 4 April 2014
This review is from: Bastard Out of Carolina (Penguin Modern Classics) (Kindle Edition)
Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatwright lives with her mother and sister in author Dorothy Allison’s own hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Surrounded by a large extended family, Bone’s is a childhood no child should ever have to experience. The white trash Boatwrights are poor, ignorant, often violent, the men often drunk, as well as loving, sometimes tender, loyal and protective. But Bone’s mother can’t ultimately protect her daughter due to her own needs and inadequacies, and this powerful and hard-hitting story takes the reader inside an experience that few of us have ever had to confront. Allison holds nothing back in her attempt to portray the very real day-to-day life of dirt-poor white trash families, and does it very effectively. Although she has chosen to tell the story as fiction, it is firmly based on her own lived experience. The story is told by Bone herself, and her child’s voice is both convincing and so very poignant. The book offers no answers, no happy endings, but goes deep into issues of family violence and abuse and offers the reader a thought-provoking and nuanced view of the psychological contradictions that make pat and easy judgements completely inappropriate. A happy ending would be a betrayal of the deep damage child abuse can do to a child. But this reader at least came away from the book with a deeper understanding of both how such situations arise and how hard it can be to escape from them. As a novel it’s not perfect, but any faults are minor when the overall impact is considered. This is an important book and I hope this reissue brings it to a wider audience.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Amanda Jenkinson
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Cheltenham

Top Reviewer Ranking: 259