Oprah's Book Club (Official) discussion

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
This topic is about The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
421 views
General > How do you feel about the layout of the ten chapters?

Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

OBC  | 316 comments Mod
How do you feel about the layout of the ten chapters? Do you enjoy focusing on a few characters at a time and jumping to new time periods?


Erin | 0 comments I really enjoyed Mathis' style in writing this novel. I liked being able to focus on one character's real story and get lost in that character in that chapter. The only hard thing was that when I really liked a certain character's story I was not able to come back and read more.


Icewineanne | 112 comments The first chapter was a great springboard to what was to come. Enjoyed the format, following a child at a time, finding out little by little what happens to the family and the children as adults. I didn't want the book to end.


Laurens Bookish Life | 23 comments Erin wrote: "I really enjoyed Mathis' style in writing this novel. I liked being able to focus on one character's real story and get lost in that character in that chapter. The only hard thing was that when I..."

I agree Erin...I didn't like how it never went back to each child so I could learn what happened. I really wanted to know more about Ella, Bell, Alice, and Franklin. I felt like after each chapter I was left with unanswered questions about each Character. The only one mentioned again was Six, and even then it wasn't that much.


Linda (mspianobug) I thought the layout of the chapters was ingenious. I felt like I was living right in the story myself and what a fantastic writer Mathis must be in order to make me feel that way.


Lisa Lingrell (lisa_lingrell) | 11 comments To dedicate a chapter to each child, I felt we got an understanding what life had in store for each, and their inability and struggles with the hand that was dealt, which also, could portray their own relation to Hattie. Mathis couldn't have done a better job with connecting the truth of how circumstance can mold off-spring.


Angela Ross Williams (cdlady) | 28 comments It took me a bit to catch onto the author's technique, each chapter one of the tribe and their current viewpoint. It was a new technique for me, but quickly understood. At one point I did wish more info on Hattie, however by the end of the book I felt I had a good picture of what Hattie went through. New writing experience for me. Good lesson for my ability to figure out the full scope. Can't wait for further discussions to see if I hit the mark. Thank you.


Lynn It took me till I read through Six's chapter to get the hang of the way the book was written. This is the first book I've read written in this layout.


Lynn As I read the book, I also felt a need for more in depth information on each of the characters, feeling I wanted them expanded on even more. I loved the book, and had trouble probably just from my sense of being thrown off due to the new type of layout.


Alyssa (lynessasedai) I really enjoyed how the book was laid out. I've read a lot of books, but this was the first time that I have read a book that is structured in this way. Part of me does kind of wish that we could have the opportunity to have more information on the characters after their little section of the book was over, but I am glad that they each had their own devoted section to develop their character.


Jacqueline (alwayssilver) | 4 comments I really liked the manner in which Mathis laid out this book. While she did not fully develop each character, she has given an insight into the profound negative impact a mother's emotional neglect may have upon her children. Mathis has left open the possibility of gracing us with at least a few additional novels based upon a full examination of any one of Hattie's children or of the full relationship between Hattie and Austin. I look forward to reading Mathis' future works.


message 12: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn I felt the same way about the possibility of future books expanding more on each character.


message 13: by Sue (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sue OBC 2.0 wrote: "How do you feel about the layout of the ten chapters? Do you enjoy focusing on a few characters at a time and jumping to new time periods?"

I found the layout of the chapter different and usual which was good.

I thought focussing on one particular persons at a time was good because sometimes when many characters are presented to the reader, I sometimes find it difficult to remember who is who.

Even though each chapter focussed on one particular character with the common thread of Hattie running through them, I did not feel that one chapter did some of them justice, I felt I sometimes did not know the characters well and could not identify with any of them but could sympathize with them.

The jumping time periods was linear and logical and drove the story to its conclusion.


Nadia A (bagambo) | 12 comments I've just started the book, but I do like the layout. I like books that focus on specific characters per chapter. And, I enjoy jumping back and forth in time - makes for a much more layered read.


OBC  | 316 comments Mod
Nadia wrote: "I've just started the book, but I do like the layout. I like books that focus on specific characters per chapter. And, I enjoy jumping back and forth in time - makes for a much more layered read."

We're so glad you're reading along with us, Nadia. Each of these chapters deeply dive into their characters and personalities. We can't wait to hear more of your thoughts throughout the book.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I like the glimpse into each siblings life. These stories are connected by Hattie, but each one of her children are so different from one another, which is true to life. We grow up with our brothers and/or sisters, sharing lives together for years, but eventually we follow our own desires and go our separate ways -- yet family remains a part of us forever. I'd love to see another novel by Ms. Mathis that expands upon the characters in this book.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

It is my personal understanding that the 'Twelve Tribes' represent each of Hattie's children. The style of the chapters allow the reader to intimately get to know the connection between Hattie and what is most important- her community of children. The layout of this book contributes to bringing clarity to the authors voice. -M.


Michelle (michelle94904) | 2 comments I also enjoyed the layout of the chapters and how they varied, some at the start of a child's life, others as teens or adults, some are written in letter form as adults, some told from a third person perspective, and many from the child's point of view. Great voices - through her writing style you could "hear" each child of Hattie and their individuality.

If you enjoyed this style, consider reading A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, or Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann. Both of those novels' chapter styles made the voice(s) in these books unique too, I enjoyed both as much (if not more) than this book.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

What I like most about the layout of the ten chapters is the fact that that they are introduced at different time periods.


Crystal (infiniteink) I really like the concept of the way she laid the book out. It made me think of the Joy Luck Club with all the vignettes. However, while I liked to be able to focus on one character at a time, all while building a picture of their mother, in some ways the layout left me wanting. For example, they would hint at another child's stories within the main character's, and I would find it more interesting than the one I was reading, but it would never get fleshed out.


April (AJoyS) I enjoyed the lay out of book because it was different from they way many book are lay out. In a way I feel the book drew me in more deeply because of it's lay out being unique.


April (AJoyS) Michelle wrote: "I also enjoyed the layout of the chapters and how they varied, some at the start of a child's life, others as teens or adults, some are written in letter form as adults, some told from a third pers..."

I agree with you. I did enjoy that the chapter varied in being about an individual child , time period and time in their lives. Also thanks for the book suggestions.


Aguedalandia | 24 comments Love IT!, it was very refreshing having diferent POV in every chapter, you really get to know hattie's family.
Also you see hattie throught her children's eyes, how she was the biggest influence in their lifes for better or worse.


OBC  | 316 comments Mod
Agueda wrote: "Love IT!, it was very refreshing having diferent POV in every chapter, you really get to know hattie's family.
Also you see hattie throught her children's eyes, how she was the biggest influence..."


What did you learn about Hattie through the eyes of her children, Agueda?


LiteraryMarie I am usually not a fan of books where there are multiple points of view. However, I preferred the layout of the chapters in this book. It gives a better focus of that individual family member and time. Although I am disappointed when the chapter is over because that's the "end" of that tribe's story.


message 26: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Galla (catmommie) Right now, I'm not seeing the chapters as a POV too much, but rather a short story or a character synopsis. The only POV factor that I've seen is a little flashback of the character's childhood.


Icewineanne | 112 comments Many have said that they were disappointed when each tale ended and they felt that they were left hanging, not finding out enough about each character. I enjoyed each chapter, for me it was similar to touring a fine wine cellar, each story having its own richness and depth.

Ayana Mathis said enough about each character to give us a basic understanding of each, and in turn, this gave us further insight into understanding their relationship with Hattie and August, and Hattie and August's relationship to each other. The way she leaves each character without revealing all, is brilliant. It allows the reader to think about, and ultimately decide the possible outcomes of the characters.


LiteraryMarie Anne wrote: "Many have said that they were disappointed when each tale ended and they felt that they were left hanging, not finding out enough about each character. I enjoyed each chapter, for me it was similar..."

Yes, I do like that I can ultimately decide each character's possible outcome.


Daniel Rangel | 2 comments I liked the layout as well. I felt that I could become so connected to the character because I had time to develop a relationship with them. In my opinion, it was genius.


Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'? (whatchatreadin) | 275 comments I liked that the book was divided by child(tribe). I enjoyed reading each's story and their relationship with their mother. I would have liked to seen more of Hattie's view point about her children. You seemed to only really get that with the Ella and Ruthie chapters.


message 31: by Bev (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bev I liked the structure. With each story, we learned a little more about Hattie, as well as about that child. I felt there was a lot more I would have liked to know about each member of the family. I think this is a brilliant book.


Christina Brockett | 1 comments I understood the structure, but it left me wanting more- not only with each character but a stronger connection between all of them. Each individual chapter revealed a lot about Hattie and August, but what I also wanted to see was the interplay between the siblings. This was barely touched on. Having a stronger thread between the siblings would have also added a level of continuity that I felt was missing.


Diane  (dianedj) I have just finished "Floyd" and am starting "Six". From reading all the posts, I think I'm going to be disappointed that I won't learn more about the characters once their chapters are finished.


message 34: by Lory (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lory Sakay | 8 comments I liked it but would have also liked additional chapters intertwined, again from Hattie's perspective. The layout is effective in describing the character and pivotal moments of her children over the years but doesn't show Hattie's transformation and growth.


Diane  (dianedj) I would prefer an index in the front so if I wanted to get to a chapter quickly, I'd know what page to go to.


back to top