Bastard Out of Carolina
Greenville County, South Carolina, is home to the Boatwright family - rough-hewn men who drink hard and shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who marry young and age all too quickly. At the heart of this astonishing novel is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a South Carolina bastard with an annotated birth certificate to tell the tale.
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by Dorothy Allison
The publication of Dorothy Allison…more
The publication of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event. The novel's profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.
Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family-a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard- drinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, "cold as death, mean as a snake," becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney-and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.
"As close to flawless as any reader could ask for and any writer could hope for and aspire to."
-The New York Times Book Review [close]
Bone played by Jena Mal...more
“People pay for that they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And the pay for it simply: by the lives they lead. - James Baldwin” --From the epigraph to the novel.
"No one knows what goes on behind closed doors."
It is hard to swallow, hard to believe, stories such as the one told by Dorothy Allison. The world would be a much prettier and more pleasant place if we did not have to believe things of the nature...more
”Oh, but that’s why I got to cut his throat,” she said plainly. “If I didn’t love the son of a bitch, I’d let him live forever.”
This statement written by Dorothy Allison in Bastard Out of Carolina and spoken by Alma is often quoted in reviews. Words in the Boatwright family are not always logical and rarely without passion. By the time you read this book you will have had enough experience with the large dysfunctional family to know that.
I remembered Aunt Alma’s direct look this afternoon whe...more
But Dorothy Allison doesn’t deliver what she promises on the label. There is, forsooth (oops, there I go again), no White Trash qualia here at all. No madness, no real violence (save for two scenes towards the end), no drunkenness, no n...more
I read this slow. Slow and stubborn, which felt just right. And now I'm snake-bit: I need to hear more from Granny about what...more
It is a beautifully-written semi-autobiographical account of a childhood in 1950s-60s South Carolina. The protagonist, nicknamed Bone, is a victim of poverty and physical abuse, including sexual abuse. But she is also part of a big extended family, all of whom are poor, uneducated, loving, and protective. Allison lived this story a...more
A quotation that captures the theme of class and race in the context of southern histo...more
I was warned so I knew what I was getting into but this was a difficult read. I felt like I couldn't take my eyes off a car wreck.Ruth Anne, generally known as Bone, is a believable character. She's not a reliable reporter as she's just a young girl with a child's skewed perspective. But she just felt so real to me. The story follows Bone from about age 5 until the end of her twelfth year.
Allison was actually able to create a whole cast of believable characters. The uncles, loved and a...more
Answer: because it's boring. Sure, stuff happens. It's not logged down with too much detail, or badly executed, or anything like that. The story, the events, the plot itself, is one of the most boring I've ever came across.
We have this little girl. She's born into bad circumstances, and that's okay. But then bad shit happens to her. Again. Again...more
When I was still at home, still under his roof. I saw the film adaptation of Bastard Out Of Carolina. We all did; my mother, him, the boys we watched it together in the living room. I laid on the floor in front of the TV and felt all the muscles in my body tense and a hot flush go through me as I watched the story of Bone , the bastard girl. Her mama married a man—after a hard life, he was her second chance—and then her mama stood by as that man hurt Bone. H...more
“Two or three t...more
The book is disturbing, at times, being an account of poverty, prejudice, violence, love and hatred, and family dynamics. Bone is...more
Also of late, this book was written 20 years ago...yet remains in the top 1% of Amazon's bestseller list and has a 94% approval rating on Goodreads. Really, this is an astonishing achievement.
Allison's first novel, the semi-autobiographical Bastard Out of Carolina, was published in 1992 and was one of five finalists for the 1992 National Book Award.
Allison founded The Independe...more