The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis Open-ended, yet the story seems complete.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a story of family, promise and generational habits. It begins during The Great Migration in 1923 when Hattie flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia. The young fifteen-year-old marries August and begins a life, she hopes, to be better. Two years later, they start a family, with the firstborns being named Philadelphia and Jubilee. "...names of promise and of hope, reaching-forward names, not looking back ones." Unfortunately, the first of many tragedies strike. Hattie watches helplessly as her seven-month-old twins died in the order they were born: first Philadelphia, then Jubilee.

Hattie gives birth to nine more children and raises them with not an ounce of tenderness. Hattie's parenting style is to prepare her children for the harsh difficult world. Life is not kind, so why should she be kind? The next chapters focus on Floyd, Six, Ruthie, Ella, Alice, Billups, Franklin, Bell and Cassie. The last tribe is Sala, Hattie's granddaughter. We can only hope that by now, Hattie gets it and will show tenderness.

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