Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison

I listened to an abridged version of Bastard out of Carolina, read by the author.

This is really a beautiful book, and a beautiful performance. It takes place in the south, in the fifties, and Dorothy Allison does a wonderful job with the dialogue and the voices. I became totally immersed. The language and the music of the accents is fascinating.

Bone is a child narrator, the illegitimate daughter of a young, poor mother. Her family is fascinating, a sprawling clan of larger-than-life characters. Bone struggles to avoid the predations of her stepfather and develop an identity. This is a vivid, unsentimental depiction of abuse, but it's also so much more than that. There's an appreciation of the joy of living underlying all the pain that Bone and the members of her family go through. Through the pain, the poverty, and the hunger, they keep on keeping on and refuse to bow their heads.

I highly recommend this, with the warning that it might too strong for some readers, and not appropriate for young readers.

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