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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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on 24 August 2015
I wanted to meet all of the boatrights, I felt that I was beside the main character Bone all the way through, it made me laugh, cry & want to cover my eyes! People who want to read a very touching story with a great heroine will love it!
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on 30 September 2015
I have never been so angry by the actions of fictional characters in a book. I found this utterly heartbreaking throughout. It should be read by all.
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on 8 May 2013
I don't really understand all the hype and acclaim for this novel. The first chapter is an example of quite fine writing, but overall the narrative is wandering and incoherent. Key characters quickly become annoying, and do not develop further than being basic white trash stereotypes. One or two moments of sublime description, I'll give it that. But overall the book just loses its way.
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on 6 October 2016
Brilliant read. Well written. Shockingly sad and traumatic in places.
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on 13 January 2017
Bought this on my friend's Wish List, she loves it.
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on 7 November 2012
I just happenned to pick this book from my daughter's bookcase. It is not the usual book I read but I was hooked from the first few pages. The author has written a novel about a difficult and at times harrowing subject very readable even to the point where the general suffering is, at times, mixed with humour. The characters, each with their own personalities, are very interesting. The insights of the main character, Bone (the author) offer glimpses into the often complicated processes going on within the human psyche due to the relationships and circumstances she finds herself in.
There is certainly enough within the novel to make the reader feel strongly about the plight of the disadvantaged in general and the abused in particular and its subject matter is worthy of further study.
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on 25 March 2016
Fabulous.
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on 24 February 2013
Good price, good delivery, great condition, fabulous book. Not the easiest book to read at times, but definitely well worth it. Opens your eyes and your mind.
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on 15 December 2014
A really heart-wrenching book, but totally amazing. One of the best books I've read this year.
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