Book Reviews of Bastard Out of Carolina

Bastard Out of Carolina
Bastard Out of Carolina
Author: Dorothy Allison
ISBN-13: 9780525934257
ISBN-10: 0525934251
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 48

3.8 stars, based on 48 ratings
Publisher: Dutton Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

78 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 53
I'm almost hesitant to give this book up as it easily tops the list of books I love. Well written and emotionally charged without being over the top and trite. I encourage anyone who can to read this book.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
This is a heartbreaking and riveting tale of a young girl's coming of age in a cruel, hard world. Very good book that stays with you long after you have read it, but well worth reading. The end surprised me.
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Helpful Score: 8
Hell of a writer. Tough story. Somehow makes you understand how some people grow up just plain mean. This book deserves all the prizes and accolades the author received.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This was a very sad, well-written story about an abused little girl. Allison is an excellent writer, so much so that I found some parts too hard to read. I got through the entire book, but I did skip about 3 pages that were particularly descriptive. Abuse is never easy, but it was wonderful getting to know this little girl.
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Helpful Score: 5
This book was a National Book Award finalist - I have bought many a book just because it got that award and have yet to go wrong.
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Helpful Score: 4
I couldn't get into this book at all. I think it's the subject matter that nearly broke my heart. Sometimes I do like to bury my head in the sand, this was one of those times.
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Helpful Score: 3
This is a wonderful book. Bone, although a victim of abuse, is such a strong girl! Each time I put the book down, I didn't leave the story feeling pity on her but hoped for her strength...and knew it would be there. A harsh reality of how many mothers choose men over their children and the children who wish to protect their mothers.
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Helpful Score: 2
Gritty, wonderful story set in South Carolina - told by Ruth Anne, a child.
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Helpful Score: 2
Honestly, this is a must read. I loved it and it stuck in my head for weeks afterwards.
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Helpful Score: 2
Wow! Just finished the book and I pass it on to you because it should be shared. It will haunt you. Fabulous characters. I wanted to gather up Bone and give her the comfort no one else seemed to be able to. Please read!
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One of my favorite books; a very touching story about a young girl suffering through abuse and poverty. This is very well written and hard to put down. I HIGHLY recommend it.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A novel about a young girl's emergence into adolescence despite sexual abuse and neglect from her jealous stepfather. The author portrays the main character's mother as a victim. Though it's obvious this woman has led a very difficult life, it's no excuse. Plenty of women endure hardship while raising healthy, happy children. The girl comes from a family of rough characters who attempt to protect their own though they themselves are also victims of their impoverished and uneducated lives. This is a well-written book that focuses on how an innocent child endures and escapes physical and emotional pain on her own.
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Helpful Score: 2
I found this to be a very moving and sad tale of life in the Carolinas. The story depicts what happens when poverty, abuse and lack of education can do to a family. It is very graphic and not for weak stomachs.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on
Helpful Score: 2
this one really evokes strong emotions (from pity to disgust and everything in between) == literally could not put it down once I started reading
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a very powerful book. I read Cavedwellers (by Allison) a couple of years ago, and while I enjoyed the book, it doesn't compare with this one. This story is a little like Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping...maybe even darker.
This books makes you wonder if you are simply living a life that is planned ahead for you; the old nature vs nurture argument!
Some of the images here are pretty graphic, but I felt they made the book very real. Very good book.
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Helpful Score: 2
This is one of those Southern books about a depressing family. More of a \"chick\" book but well written if you\'re into that genre.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a heart stopping sad book, I could not put it down once I started there is a movie based off of this book, the book is so much better.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Objectively, I'd have to say that this was a really good book. I read it years ago and still think about it. However, I did throw it across the floor and yelled at it after I finished it. I found it VERY upsetting.
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Helpful Score: 1
A heartbreaking tale.
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Helpful Score: 1
Every once in a while a rare gem of a story will come along and renew my appreciation for the written word. This is definitely one to be treasured!
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
After what I thought was a slow start setting it all up, this book seized me roughly by the nape of my neck and held on. A story of family and personal courage, no less so because of the horror the main character, Bone, endured, it was at once deeply disturbing and hopeful. Required reading for anyone who wants to know more about the experience of abuse. The mythical themes stay with the reader a long time, I expect. For me,the most rewarding read in a long time. The writing was a model of astounding description using plain words

Did I say I loved it?
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Helpful Score: 1
Allison gives us a glimpse into the everday life of a sexually abused girl. Not an easy read, but a beautiful one.
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Helpful Score: 1
Powerful novel told through the eyes of a 12-year-old abused child. The novel told the story of Ruth Anne Boatwright, who was born a bastard into the wild Boatwright family of Greenville, South Carolina. Ruth Anne, who is known as "Bone" was born to a young unwed mother named Anney who tried to get "illegitimate" removed from Bone's birth certificate without success. Bone was loved by Anney and the rest of the Boatwright clan but then Anney married "Daddy Glen" who winds up abusing Bone both physically and sexually. Bone's experiences were very tragic and this part of the story was very emotional and hard to read. Otherwise, the novel was written with colorful prose and reminded me somewhat of To Kill a Mockingbird but in a much harsher light. I would recommend this one overall but be advised of the brutality described in the novel.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was a good one. My first by Allison. I will definitely read more from her.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book had me in tears by the end. Very thought provoking.
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Helpful Score: 1
I think this is a very powerful book. I cried, raged, and, at times, laughed helplessly. Mainly, though, I was so enraged at some of the characters ... I was ready to go into the book with a shotgun. I mean, it's a powerful work - be prepared to feel it.

The subject matter is Serious - rape, poverty, abuse. The way in which it is written and told ... brilliant. Allison writes in the tone of voice which I am used to hearing from my years spent in the south. At the same time, she adds so much power to both her writing and subject matter that one can't help but Listen.

I consider this a must read for women. Whether women like to admit it or not, we face (directly or indirectly) rape, poverty, and abuse on a daily basis. It's so prevalent in our global culture - even if we're the "lucky" ones, and are not touched by it directly.

I'd give this book more than 5 stars if I could.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What a remarkable book this really is. Wonderful reading!
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Helpful Score: 1
Disturbing and powerful.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fantastic, volatile, disturbing book. Read with caution.
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Amazing! It got better and better till the very end, when I didn't want to finish it!
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Really good book. Sad but good.
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Lovely Lovely book. Almost painful at times but a book that everyone should read. Especially close to home, literally and emotionally, for those of us that grew up in the South
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Compassionate story telling. National Book Award finalist.
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This was my first Dorothy Allison book. I found this one totally engrossing but disturbing! The details were amazing and vivid; you could feel the summer heat, hear the river flowing, you feel her shame at being poor...Bone's emotional pain was deep and heart-wrenching caused by so many things out of her control. It was the most riveting book about family and loyality and lack thereof. Disturbing what can happen when tragedy hits home that could have ended so differently...or avoided altogether.
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Well written. Good author, but so sad and depressing that I'll never revisit this book again.
reviewed Bastard Out of Carolina on
A gripping, disturbing, enjoyable read. It would be amongst my "favorites", but for the ending which made me want to throw the book through the wall!
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This was a lesbian book club selection. I liked this book a lot! It's about a little girl's thoughts about the world around her.
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***SPOILER ALERT*****This book, which portrayed a mother-daughter relationship torn apart by sexual abuse, was an absolutely devastating read. As the traditional Buddhist forgiveness meditation phrase states, "we have all been betrayed or abandoned at some time". This book has the potential to hit that nerve in anyone who has had issues with psychological or sexual abusein childhood.
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This book is very compelling and captivating. Despite what is clearly painful subject matter (something I think everyone should take into consideration prior to reading, as I believe there might be some triggers for more sensitive readers), this book is quite a page turner.

The world-building is phenomenal. I've never been to Greenville County, South Carolina even in the present day, let alone in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Nonetheless, I feel intimately acquainted with the place now. Dorothy Allison does a beautiful job evoking the imagery of South Carolina at this time.

The characterizations are rich and complex, with each character coming with his or her own personal and family history. Motivations for actions are subtle but apparent.

The language throughout has a lyrical feel, and carries the reader along the journey at a fast pace.

Dorothy Allison is self-avowedly feminist, and I'd call this a feminist piece of fiction. That being said, there is nothing about this work that is preachy (which would not bother me, but might bother some other folks). Allison raises many questions of morality and provides some possible answers to those questions, but never says what is "right," allowing the reader to form his or her own conclusions.

I'm definitely glad that I read this.
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Great Book!
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Graphic, heart-wrenching tale of abuse, addiction, and survival.
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Wonderful book and story, worth your time. Warning about the child molestation.
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Really enjoyed the book of the story of an abused child.

The ISBN posts this book as a hardcover but it is not.
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I've been wanting to read this book for a long time but it wasn't available at our library.

The author showed the incredible strength and adaptability of southern women. This is definitely not a "feel good" book but it probably is an accurate portrayal of many families.
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Hell and bells and power to burn.
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An emotionally-charged, powerful book about a family in the South caught in a cycle of abuse.
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Compelling and engaging. This book will stay with you.
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Incredibly sad book about an abused girl and her relationship w/ her mother and extended members of her, very poor, family.
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Intense-I couldn't put it down.
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Absolutely riveting tale.
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I really enjoyed this book, especially because it takes place in the area where I grew up--shout out G-Vegas, SC--. This tragic story is a difficult one about the realities of incest and abuse in society.
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One of the best, most riveting (and disturbing) book I've ever read. The movie does not at all do it justice.
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Gruelling, but compelling tale of a young girl, Bone, growing up in rural South Carolina. Narrated in Bone's voice, this is a harrowing account of neglect, abuse, addiction, family and endurance. Dorothy Allison is a remarkable writer. "Bastard Out of Carolina" was a National Book Award finalist and definitely deserves the recognition.
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Harrowing and riveting read. "Bastard Out of Carolina" is narrated by young Ruth Ann Boatwright aka: Bone. We see the world through her eyes - a world that is poor, where the women all age too soon and her stepfather who's a cruel and evil man, Daddy Glenn. Bone does her best to stay out of the way but always seems to end up right in the eye of the storm when it comes to Daddy Glenn.
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This is a very good book. It does have some pretty bad language, though, and some sexual descriptions.
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one of my all time favorites
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Painfully honest!
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Set in the Carolina Low Country, this is the story that Showtime turned into a motion picture. A story of love and abuse. A must read.
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Really enjoyed this book.
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Heart-breaking and beautifully painful in its prose and story
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This is a novel that you read and never forget. It is so deep and moving, life for me would never of been the same had i not read this wonderful novel--i'd of missed so much if i'd of kept it on the shelf. I read this some years ago and still can quote from it--it is that good.
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A brutal story, beautifully written. Very gifted and talented author.
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This was a great book.
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One of those books that kind of slaps you in the face with the reality of certain situations - very good.
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This book is very poignant because its narrator is a child, the victim of abuse by her stepfather. Although he is despicable, the truly unforgivable character is the child's mother, who knows what is happening and tacitly condones it so she won't lose her husband. Animals protect their young, while some human parents don't. This child, as is common, blames herself as she is denied what should be a given for all children: protection, a sense of security and parents who cherish them.
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While not for those with delicate constitutions, Bastard Out of Carolina is the most perfectly written book I've read to date. It is dirty and dark and hard and gut-wrenching. My mama had a childhood devastatingly similar to Bone's and I can't even fathom the where-with-all it took Ms Allison to so accurately detail such an experience. Therapy, alcohol, drugs, institutionalization... Any of these would be a reasonable reaction to The kind of childhood detailed in Bastard Out of Carolina. I'm thankful Dorothy Allison channeled her experience into a novel that deserves every literary award known.
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This is a classic for a reason! Allison is a fantastic writer; she paints a vivid picture of a childhood spent in a poor Southern family. She also paints a vivid picture of emotional and sexual abuse that is going to haunt me for some time to come, so if you find that sort of thing triggering, you might want to steer clear.
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Set in the rural South, this tale centers around the Boatwright family, a proud and closeknit clan known for their drinking, fighting, and womanizing. Nicknamed Bone by her Uncle Earle, Ruth Anne is the bastard child of Anney Boatwright, who has fought tirelessly to legitimize her child. When she marries Glen, a man from a good family, it appears that her prayers have been answered. However, Anney suffers a miscarriage and Glen begins drifting. He develops a contentious relationship with Bone and then begins taking sexual liberties with her. Embarrassed and unwilling to report these unwanted advances, Bone bottles them up and acts out her confusion and shame. Unaware of her husband's abusive behavior, Anney stands by her man. Eventually, a violent encounter wrests Bone away from her stepfather. In this first novel, Allison creates a rich sense of family and portrays the psychology of a sexually abused child with sensitivity and insight. Recommended for general fiction collections.
LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW
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Very sad story of a young girl, pretty much left to her own devices by her Mother, and an unbelievably cruel step father. The only thing she has going for her is her extended family.
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I didn't like "Bastard," but I have a hard time saying why. For one thing, it was impossible for me to like the protagonist at all. It's too defiant to find common ground. For another, it feels nastily voyeuristic, possibly because I couldn't find common ground with the characters. I understand why Allison wrote it, but it just doesn't set with me.

If you want to understand where Dorothy Allison is coming from, may I suggest that you read her nonfiction work "Skin" instead? It's a fabulous book, and hits everywhere that "Bastard" fails. On the other hand, if it's important to you to read lesbian writers, or if you're a student of class, "Bastard" is canonical, and plenty of people do love it.
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A great read - I could not put it down! I had no idea until recently that it was made into a movie.
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This is a great book.
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This book was good. A sad story of a young girls struggle. A little confusing in the middle of the book but it was good.
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Great book
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Greenville County, South Carolina, home of the Boatwright family.
This is a National Book Award Finalist.
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FROM THE PUBLISHER
Greenville County, South Carolina, a wild, lush place, 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. Observing everything with the mercilessly keen eye of a child, Bone finds herself caught up in a family triangle that will test the loyalty of her mother, Anney. Her stepfather, Daddy Glen, calls Bone "cold as death, mean as a snake, and twice as twisty," yet Anney needs Glen. At first gentle with Bone, Daddy Glen becomes steadily colder and more furious - until their final, harrowing encounter, from which there can be no turning back.
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Says hardcover but it's a paperback