Ashley's Reviews > Bastard Out of Carolina

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Rate this book
Clear rating

U 50x66
's review
Jun 08, 2010

did not like it

Don't waste your time on authors who put their therapy on a shelf. It's a sad, depressing story that inspires rage in anyone who reads it; however, at some point I stopped feeling terrible for this girl and started berating her (or the author... it really is autobiographical). No one spends nearly a decade being sexually abused and still questions whether or not what is happening to them is abuse. But that is only the plot (and one small element of the plot that doesn't make sense), the style of the writing itself has problems as well.
Ultimately, this is a tale centering on a family ("white trash", and just because the writer claims it from the beginning doesn't mean I disagreed by the end) with definite co-dependence issues. The women are all taken advantage of and it seems there is nothing that will wake up the men to their unhappiness, and there is nothing that could be done to the women that would make them leave a husband (as is horrifically apparent with the conclusion). Furthermore, with the climax occurring inside the conclusion there should have been some kind of deeply resounding resolution to the girl's/woman's abuse and perspective about human relationships, but I really didn't see that happen. Instead, I saw a clear picture of this girl going on to become another Boatwright woman--taken advantage of and unwilling to do anything about it.
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Bastard Out of Carolina.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Erin How can you say no one spends a decade being abused and questions whether or not it's abuse? Of course they do! The true tragedy of abuse isn't the damage done, you can survive the sex and beatings, it's the feeling you get that you deserved it, that in fact all you are is a victim. That's what this novel so eloquently describes, the multigenerational victim mentality of these women is just true, in a very sad way as you will see if you look at any group who has been beat down and made to feel that they are less than everyone else.

Virginia Albanese Well said, Erin.

Ashley The problem with this text, and the abuse, is the meta aspect of the writing. The author is writing the story as someone who did rise above her own abuse, so the way I (yes, it's a personal opinion) read this text was that the girl knew what was going on wasn't "normal" or right and that she didn't deserve to be treated as such, yet she maintains the cycle. I understand that there are some psychological issues, and certainly cycles of abuse, but I had a problem with the way the text was written because it felt like someone who had risen above it- -almost as if the author was judging the girl and the family as well. Ultimately, if the author is going to tell the story thru the perspective that she did, I didn't see the point (hence, "tell it to a therapist").

Caroline Owens Even if you come to grips that you are being abused, that realization doesn't necessarily make things easier. Sometimes it makes things harder. Especially when there are other family members involved. It is so emotionally complex. Maybe everyone doesn't deal with it the way Bone does, but I know some do.

Caroline Owens Oh and you can tell it to a therapist but that is a different desire and intended goal to writing a novel. I'm so glad that Allison shared this. For me, she encapsulated the way a person can feel who is abused without judgment. It's just real. You can make your own decisions. But sometimes you just want to be understood. And this book made me feel that way.

back to top