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July's Book: Bastards by Mary Anna King

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message 1: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
Discuss here!


message 3: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I just started this. Is anyone else reading?


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (biblioberg) | 6 comments I am reading right now and I am halfway through. It is well written but heart-breaking!


message 5: by Nichole Gray (new)

Nichole Gray | gray_reader_89 (graynm89) I'm going to start it this weekend :)


message 6: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I'm a couple chapters in, and I can't help but think...why didn't they use birth control? There are a lot of options and it would have saved the family a lot of grief.


message 7: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I was wondering that too? Also it's not like the babies would eat much and many poor folks have raised large families.


message 8: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I do like her writing style though.


message 9: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie | 22 comments For those wondering why they continued reproducing even while knowing they couldn't support additional children and didn't want additional children, hang onto your hats. The answer is coming towards the end of the book. Hint: It's pretty twisted.

Even though the story is actually quite sad in many ways, I am enjoying the author's storytelling abilities and writing. I haven't finished the book, but so far, the author and her siblings are really impressing me with their developing characters for the most part. No one is perfect, but they are managing exceptionally well in my opinion.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (biblioberg) | 6 comments I just finished this book and I enjoyed the character development and it was a heartbreaking book but seeing the resolution helped me get through this book.


message 11: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I like the author too, and she seems like she sees through some of the weird things the adults around her are doing.


message 12: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I'm still reading, albeit slowly.


message 13: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I found Mary's first impressions of Oklahoma interesting. I came here as a teenager and my first impressions were different. Of course she was moving socio economic classes as well as states.


message 14: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie | 22 comments Joy - I'm intrigued by your comment and wondered if you would mind sharing your thoughts. When did you move to Oklahoma and what were your first impressions? Also, did you move to a city or a rural area? I'm asking because I've lived in Oklahoma my whole life but in several different areas of the state. I've had great experiences everywhere although each area seems to have its own personality, and I've enjoyed some locations more than others.


message 15: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I moved from southern Virginia to Midwest City in 1981. As teens, my sister and I were pretty horrified that we were moving to the land of Cowboys and Indians. We actually found suburban life here to be similar to suburban life in Virginia. Star Spencer High School was more diverse than our former school but that wasn't a bad thing, except that for me there were fewer academic opportunities which could have been a problem had I not transferred my junior year.

The thing that had me most worried was our first stop in Miami, OK at a truck stop--we went to check out the juke box and it had Johnny Cash. We were horrified! At the time it did not occur to me that truck stops might have different music selections than say, Pizza Hut. I blamed it on Oklahoma.

In Mary's case she grew up in what we would have called "the projects" in NJ (I spent some time in southern NJ as well) and then came here to a land of grass and trees and a big house. Our little house in Midwest City would not have impressed her as much, I'm sure. Where I lived in Southern NJ we had plenty of grass and we had beaches too. So my view of NJ was also quite different than hers.


message 16: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie | 22 comments Ha, I can imagine how apprehensive teenagers would feel moving to Oklahoma in the early 80's! I agree that in those days our state identified more closely with that Wild West/Cowboys and Indians persona. Those were also the days of the oil boom and bust and also the Urban Cowboy era. You must have thought you were moving to another planet entirely. It sounds like you discovered some common threads with your previous home though. Thanks for your insight.


message 17: by Nichole Gray (new)

Nichole Gray | gray_reader_89 (graynm89) I was also interested to read what Mary experienced when moving here. I moved from a suburb outside of Minneapolis to Owasso when I was eight. Going from one suburb to another made the transition pretty smooth, the biggest differences I can recall marveling at were the lack of snow how summer seemed to last forever (and the way people asked where I had moved from until the northern accent wore off). I try to imagine what Mary's acclimation might have looked like if her grandparents had lived in a more rural or small town setting.

Overall, I thought this book was very well written and a fascinating story. I love the way Mary can talk about a situation or instance that, for all intents and purposes, isn't funny - but she tells it in such a way that I find myself grinning. A prime example of this would be the little play she conjures up (directed by Quentin Tarantino, of course) depicting what might have happened if her father had had the audacity to tell her mother directly that he was leaving the family.

While being humorous and articulate, Mary does not shy away from the unpleasant which is appreciated. I marvel at the self awareness she has to even be able to recognize that she has been pretending to be who everyone expects her to be, I feel like a lot of people go through life looking for a script to follow without realizing it.

While heartbreaking at times, I loved this story. I hope Mary stays true to herself and finds that sense of family that she longed for.


message 18: by Mauri (new)

Mauri Fernandes | 15 comments I'm not reading this book right now, but I just might start because the book I'm reading now is kinda of boring, to be honest.


message 19: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie | 22 comments Mauri - yes, give this book a try, and let us know what you think. Out of curiosity, what book are reading that you think is kind of boring?


message 20: by Mauri (new)

Mauri Fernandes | 15 comments It's called Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights


message 21: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie | 22 comments Nichole - I think you nailed it with the Quentin Tarantino comment. That sounds about right.

I get the idea from the interviews linked in the other comments that this gal and her siblings are good and kind, but they figured out quickly that they need to take life by the horns and advocate for themselves first if they don't want to be pushed around or repeat their parents' mistakes. I think the author was a little more clear in the outside interviews that she did eventually find greater appreciation for her grandmother and the things she was taught by her. It seems like she was able to appreciate her good points while laying aside her bad points in a lot of ways. That's a concept that makes so much sense in theory but can be incredibly difficult to do in practice. It makes me view her as a very intentional and strong woman.


message 22: by Mauri (new)

Mauri Fernandes | 15 comments So, I just picked up the book at the library and I'm excited to read it!!


message 23: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) I hope you enjoy it, Mauri.

I have really enjoyed the book and discussion.


message 24: by Mauri (new)

Mauri Fernandes | 15 comments It is so good. The thing about a memoir vs. a biography is that a memoir is more personal and feels more like a story, whereas a biography is more factual. I was afraid that this would be more like a biography, but it's more personal and that's what I love about it.


message 25: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 8 comments Bobbie wrote: "For those wondering why they continued reproducing even while knowing they couldn't support additional children and didn't want additional children, hang onto your hats. The answer is coming toward..."

I just finished this one--I must have missed the reason why they kept having more kids. What was it?


message 26: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) They believed it was God's will that they have children for those who couldn't.


message 27: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
Whoa! I don't know how I missed that--I think I must have been paying more attention to some other parts of the story.


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