Bastard Out of Carolina Epub µ Bastard Out Epub /


  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Bastard Out of Carolina
  • Dorothy Allison
  • English
  • 11 October 2018
  • 9780452287051

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Bastard Out of CarolinaBastard Out of Carolina: A Reader's Personal Reflection “People pay for that they do, and still , for what they have allowed themselves to become And the pay for it simply: by the lives they lead James Baldwin” From the epigraph to the novel No one knows what goes on behind closed doors It is hard to swallow, hard to believe, stories such as the one told by Dorothy Allison The world would be a much prettier andpleasant place if we did not have to believe things of the nature related by young Ruth Anne Boatwright, known to her family as Bone.But this I know is true These things have always happened They have happened from time immemorial I do not believe that it was the idea of Lot's daughters to lie with their father in his drunkenness Rather, when a man's wife is a pillar of salt, he has needs which must be met elsewhere.In the basement of the Monroeville, Alabama, County Courthouse, the old Courthouse, are the records dating back to its construction I visited there I asked permission to examine the records At the turn of the Twentieth Century, I found cases of incest and carnal knowledge of a child under the age of twelve in the huge red leather bound docket books, the parties long dead.I was an Assistant District Attorney for twentyeight years In the mid1980s, with the breaking news of child abuse cases occurring across the United States, I was assigned to handle those cases Actually, I volunteered for it I had no idea of the world I was about to enter.The Judicial system was ill equipped to answer the problem of child abuse cases Juries were uncomfortable with the facts that poured out like a stream of sewage It was a world of children with knowledge for which they should have no basis Abusers who should have been protectors Mothers who should have been the first to protect their child from the man in their lives But the abusers were abusers and the mothers were not supportive of their children.I was the Courthouse Santa Claus I had the ability to talk with children I was willing to work with social workers who werelike police officers and police officers who could have been mistaken for social workers It was the beginning of a multidisciplinary approach to handling child abuse cases We learned as we went Child by child.Through the years, I became known as Mr Mike to the children whose cases I took to court The name stuck with social workers and police officers I developed a reputation of winning those cases And I was called the meanest man who ever stepped into a courtroom when I was able to carve a Daddy Glenn into little pieces on crossexamination The television cameras were often there for the verdict The crime beat reporter was there I was asked how I handled the cases without them getting to me Naturally, I lied My response was they did not If I allowed the cases to get to me, I would not be an effective advocate for any child I imagine my lies were fairly transparent, as I sometimes bared my emotions uncontrollably in summation I could only say there are some things that should make a grown man cry.The truth is, keeping the lid on your emotions takes a tremendous toll These were the cases you did take home with you at night These are the children whose faces I can still see, whose voices I can still hear to this day And there are the eyes of the dead, the glazed eyes in little bodies on steel gurneys in emergency rooms, on whose faces I still imagine I see, sometimes surprise, sometimes resignation.Often I wondered how those children who lived might have grown up What they would have said What lives they would have lead I read Bastard Out of Carolina when it was first published in 1992 Dorothy Allison became the voice I had been looking for It helped me understand better the Bones of this world, the Anneys, and the Daddy Glenns In a way this book became an unholy bible for me in the preparation of cases.Understand, I did not set out to write about myself, although it may appear otherwise I wrote this as I did to encourage anyone who has not read this book to do so I wrote this for anyone who has read it, as a speaker for children, that what you have read in the pages of Dorothy Allison's book is true.I write this in appreciation for the courage required and the emotional toll taken by Dorothy Allison to tell this story.Finally, this is for all the Ruth Ann Boatwrights in the world There are so many of you I know that you are not trash I know that you are not all poor I know some of you make yourselves unattractive in the hope you will be left alone I know some of you will run away from home I know that some of you will excell in school and some of you will not But most important, whatever has happened to you, it was not your fault And I write this in the hope that one day you will believe this even if you do not today Know this is true There is always someone there to listen.And for all the Daddy Glenns out there? It's not the 1950s any Somebody's gonna get you, sooner or later.For those who are looking for atraditional review, I heartily recommend those of Jeff Keeten at and Larry Bassett found at. Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family—a tightknit clan of roughhewn, harddrinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective When her stepfather Daddy Glen, cold as death, mean as a snake, becomes increasingly vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney—and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back This book is beautifully written, but I did not enjoy it It is a grim story of poverty, child abuse and rape The prose may be lovely but the drama is harrowing.Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.Bastard Out of Carolina is the story of Ruth Anne Boatwright, but everyone calls her Bone She was born out of wedlock and doesn't know who her daddy is Her mama tried several times to get the word illegitimate removed from Bone's birth certificate, but the courthouse clerk just smirked at her.Mama hated to be called trash, hated the memory of every day she'd ever spent bent over other people's peanuts and strawberry plants while they stood tall and looked at her like she was a rock on the ground The stamp on that birth certificate burned her like the stamp she knew they'd tried to put on her No good, lazy, shiftless She'd work her hands to claws, her back to a shovel shape, her mouth to a bent and awkward smile — anything to deny what Greenville County wanted to name her.Her mama eventually married a man named Glen, and that is when Bone's real troubles began Glen couldn't keep a job or pay the bills, so the family often went hungry and had to move a lot Glen also had a fierce temper and started molesting and beating Bone, and she didn't know what to do Her mama seemed to know Glen disliked Bone, but she said she loved him so much that she wouldn't leave him After several years of abuse, Bone's aunt saw the bruises on her, and she was finally taken away.Poor Bone She blamed herself for making Glen angry, and she hated that her mama couldn't protect her At times she would get so mad that she wanted to fight him, and other times she just wanted to disappear Those passages were some of the most heartbreaking in the book.I was no Cherokee I was no warrior I was nobody special I was just a girl, scared and angry When I saw myself in Daddy Glen's eyes, I wanted to die No, I wanted to be already dead, cold and gone Everything felt hopeless He looked at me and I was ashamed of myself It was like sliding down an endless hole, seeing myself at the bottom, dirty, ragged, poor, stupid But at the bottom, at the darkest point, my anger would come and I would know that he had no idea who I was, that he never saw me as the girl who worked hard for Aunt Raylene, who got good grades no matter how often I changed schools, who ran errands for Mama and took good care of Reese I was not dirty, not stupid, and if I was poor, whose fault was that? I had previously read Dorothy Allison's memoir Two or Three Things I Know For Sure, so I knew that this novel was semiautobiographical From the author's afterword:Writing Bastard, I had imagined that girl — or rather some girl of thirteen or so who hated herself and her life I had imagined that, reading Bone's story, a girl like her would see what I intended — that being made the object of someone else's contempt and rage did not make you contemptible I was arguing against the voice that had told me I was a monster — at five, nine, and fifteen I was arguing for the innocence and worth of that child — I who had never believed in my own innocence The mythology of rape and child abuse had done me so much damage People from families like mine — southern working poor with high rates of illegitimacy and all too many relatives who have spent time in jail — we are the people who are seen as the class who does not care for their children, for whom rape and abuse and violence are the norm That such assumptions are false, that the rich are just as likely to abuse their children as the poor, and that southerners do not have a monopoly on either violence or illegitimacy are realities that are difficult to get people to recognize The myths are so strong they subvert sociological data and personal accounts.Truthfully, the afterword was my favorite part of the book Besides sharing her motivations for writing the novel, Allison also discussed how some schools around the country have censored and banned the book, and how she grieved whenever she heard such news If you want to read Bastard Out of Carolina, try and find a copy that has the afterword (mine was the 20th anniversary edition) That said, I don't know if I can recommend this novel because it was so grim I am glad that some readers have found comfort in seeing issues of abuse brought to light, but it will be awhile before I can shake those awful images I do not want to be the person who acts always out of fear or denial or old shame and older assumptions I want to be my best self — the one who set out to tell a story that might make a difference in the lives of people who read it Unafraid, stubborn, resilient, and capable of enormous compassion — someone like Bone. Dorothy Allison pissed a few people off when she first wrote this novel Boy am I glad she did Why should literature seek to please, rather than excite the reader? Why should it try to be polite in order to seek the truth? Should books not produce composed disorder, honest diatribes, and gutwrenching truths? Insult me, make me angry, make me laugh, make me cry, leave my mouth agape from disbelief at your crude renunciations of what I thought was orthodoxall things that good books do In Greenville County, South Carolina, lives the Boatwright family, a family that bad things seem to happen to all the time At the center is the child narrator, Ruth Anne, who is called Bone throughout the book The scene opens with Bone's mama, a teenage girl, heading to the county office to try and get the word bastard erased from her daughter's certificate Later, she tries to look for someone to marry in order to avoid such things in the future With these few scenes, the mood of the book is set Poor, uneducated, working class folks, the Boatwrights It is a family saga with violence, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and instability at its core The women must find husbands and have babies, the men are drunks who constantly switch jobs, etc A man has needs, they laughed each time they got together So what you suppose a woman has? Men! one of them would always answer in a giggling roar Then they would all laugh til the tears started running down I wasn't at all sure what was so funny, but I laughed anyway I liked being one of the women with my aunts, liked feeling a part of something nasty and strong and separate from my big, rough boy cousins and the whole world of spitting, growling, over bearing males.I find that I read audiobooks slower So for weeks, I listened to this in spurts, my iphone plugged to my ear at night, and I tell you, there were times when during vicious scenes, my body shook with her pain The prose here is so vivid, the imagery so profound, that I felt as if I was right in the moment and I didn't like it Didn't like what it must have felt to be Bone Thought Daddy Glenn was a pig, and at the end I really disliked Bone's mama Yet I couldn't help but like the Boatwright menEarl especially Loved Ruth Didn't care for Shannon Pearl and her family but liked the way in which Allison used them to show hypocrisy in the the community and in the church There is no way I could have known what it felt like to be the Boatwrights, but Allison gave me some inkling And this is why I loved the booknotwithstanding the fact that Elizabeth Evans was a wonderful reader, of course The imagery, character development, intense dialogue, and bright scenes, made this book as real as an ordinary day for some In the beginning, the prose is so lyrical, though not as much in the second halfwhich makes you feel as if Allison was reeling you in with beauty so she could introduce horror In her afterword, Allison wrote that she chose fiction and not nonfiction because she wanted a welltold lie and because she didn't want her mom vilified Though she did experience some of what Bone experienced, the author said, Bone was a completely different character from her because she wanted a character with fortitude (my word though, not hers) Bone tells her harrowing, heartwrenching story with a mixture of ease and spunk I really liked her as a character: her moments of vulnerability and introspection, her spunk, her fearlessness in the times of fearfulness. I guess I never got the memo I didn't realize that this was one of the most depressing tales of physical and sexual abuse I had always looked forward to reading this novel and had the impression it was an empowering, comingofage story of a girl who triumphs over poverty and place.No triumph Just lots of stomach clenching scenes and dread in my heart and intestines This was ever so painful for me to read, despite some moments of powerful and memorable writing.And, who'd a thunk it? For the first time in my life, I was filled with gratitude by the revelation that my mother's boyfriends during my adolescence were mere narcissists and fools Not an abuser among them Thank you, thank you, Sweet Jesus.My heart breaks for every child who's ever landed a bastard for a father or a stepfather What a nightmare I'm really just too sensitive for these types of stories. This is such an important vital book for survivors of child sexual abuse and assault, that I was disheartened to learn from Dorothy Allison's postscript that her book has been censored in school systems from Maine to California Bone howls with impotent rage at her stepfather, but turns most of her hatred against herself Little children who suffer need this book to hear and understand that it's not their fault. This is one of those books that leaves you with so many questions, but I think the afterword really helped me understand the overall message, and it made me realize how important this book is This is a brutal and honest story about Ruth who grows up with her mother, her sister and her stepfather in America She is also surrounded by a ton of aunts and uncles who help her guide her through life This book is not for the fainthearted, but still I think it's very important that everybody read it It's one of the most honest books I've ever read, and while especially one aspect of it seemed unrealistic to me, I couldn't help but embrace the book and cry over Ruth's fate I cannot recommend this novel enough; however, I don't recommend it if you're still young since it is quite brutal After all, there is a reason why this book was banned (even though I'm personally very much against that ban!) I know for sure that this story is going to stay with me for a long time to come, and I fear that the questions inside my head will never be answered. 2.5 Stars Bastard out of Carolina is a tough and harrowing read Written by Dororthy Allison and set in Allison's home town of Greenville, South Carolina in the 1950s The story centres around Bone Boatwright a girl born fatherless to 15 years old Anney Boatwright and sexually and physically abused by her stepfather Glen but part of a large extended family who know poverty and life is as hard as it gets a life where family matters but drinking and fighting is part of their existence.I personally found this a long drawn out harrowing story of abuse and relentless violence and while the story needed to be told I found the telling was just way too drawn out and repetitive There was so many pointless sections in the Novel that I found myself zoning out on a couple of occasions While the story is important and a shocking and excellent insight into a child's life of abuse I couldn't find the emotion within the story and although I was shocked and I just didn't connect with this book like many readers have done and for me this could have been an excellent short story but just didn't make fulfill me as a novel and this might have been the fact that the book is quite graphic and a lots of detail I also found the relentless cast of characters quite frustrating I know that is a book loved by many but just and ok read for me I listened to this one on Audible and the narration was was adequate but I think I may have gotout of reading a hard copy of this book.Perhaps readers who liked The Glass Castle or Find all of my reviews at: “There’s need,” she said “God knows there’s need.” Her voice was awesome, biblical “God knows.” Bastard Out of Carolina had been on my TBR for an age due its prevalence on the annual Banned Books List I’m not quite sure why I never got around to reading it before now, but since I’ve rectified that situation I would be a strong proponent for this being taught as a companion piece to To Kill A Mockingbird in high school literature classes After all Much like Mockingbird this is an unforgettable coming of age story that will forever stand the test of time It just presents a different take on things: What if you were told about the childhood experiences of one of the Ewell girl children rather than Scout Finch? Or as the book points out on a couple of different occasions – what if you read about the dirty whitetrash Slatterys rather than the O’Haras in Gone with the Wind?The Black As Mitchell’s Heart label should be taken into consideration 100% before picking this up because it is as bleak and brutal as they come and it absolutely shredded what’s left of mine Credit to Ms Allison's writing where it is due because some of the alluded to moments in this book are the most powerful and the one scene that is absolutely inyourface completely gutted me. It is December 2019 and I just finished listening to the audible version of this book that was created in 2012 The book was first published in 1982 The audible version has an epilogue written by the author in 2012 which talks about her motivation for writing this novel and her distinctions between fiction and nonfiction This book put you in a world of white trash and violence and rape against children that you may think that you understand Regardless of what you may think you will possibly think something different after you read this book This book is written in the first person by a child who is not quite 13 at the conclusion of the book Child is not really quite the right word.”Oh, but that’s why I got to cut his throat,” she said plainly “If I didn’t love the son of a bitch, I’d let him live forever.” This statement written by Dorothy Allison in Bastard Out of Carolina and spoken by Alma is often quoted in reviews Words in the Boatwright family are not always logical and rarely without passion By the time you read this book you will have had enough experience with the large dysfunctional family to know that I remembered Aunt Alma’s direct look this afternoon when she’d talked about loving Wade, about wanting to kill him I didn’t understand that kind of love I didn’t understand anything A twelve year old shouldn’t have to understand that, let alone feel it herself She would have to be an excellent example of growing up too young, a Boatwright family specialty.Before I started reading Bastard Out of Carolina, I found the 1996 movie streaming online and watched it (If you go to , you will find where you can watch the movie for free.) Immediately after I watched the movie, I was not sure I wanted to read the book! The movie had some horrific, violent scenes and I thought the book might go into these scenes indetail I was quivering from the movie so I took a break I wondered how the actors in the movie, especially the young ones, managed to maintain their mental health portraying events that I had trouble even watching As I often find for myself, the images on the screen wereintense than the words in the book In a book I am sometimes shielded from the content by my admiration of the writing, of the choice of words The film isvivid and in my face, pummeling me.I was a child protective services (CPS) worker in the mid 1970s dealing with child abuse and neglect These societal concerns were receiving increased public attention and academic study at that time and CPS was just coming to term and being born The Battered Child Syndrome certainly applies to Bone, the girl child we watch grow up in an abusive home in Bastard Out of Carolina This book is a lesson in traditional old time, country living The story is told by the girl, Bone They did what they could The sisters sent Mama a wedding present, a love knot Marvella had made using some of her own hair, after Maybelle had cut little notches in their rabbits’ ears under a new moon, adding the blood to the knot She set the rabbits loose, and then the two of them tore up half a dozen rows of their beans and buried honeycomb in a piece of lace tablecloth where the beans had flourished The note with the love knot told Mama that she should keep it under the mattress of the new bed that Glen had bought, but Mama sniffed the blood and dried hair, and shook her head over the thing She couldn’t quite bring herself to throw it away, but she put it in one of her flower pots out in the utility room where Glen wouldn’t find it stinking up their house The Boatwright family is hard living, hard drinking, fighting; Bone is proud to be a part of it: We’re smart, I thought We’re smarter than you think we are I felt mean and powerful and proud of all of us, all the Boatwrights who had ever gone to jail, fought back when they hadn’t a chance, and still held on to their pride Bone suffers abuse that is graphically portrayed: emotional, physical, sexual: “Nobody wants me to have nothing nice,” he’d complain, and then get in one of his dangerously quiet moods and refuse to talk to anyone He brooded so much that Reese and I patrolled the yard, picking up windblown trash and do turds – anything that would make him mad Every new house made him happy for a little while, and we tried to extend that period of relative calm as much as possible, keeping everything clean and neat..His left hand reached for me, caught my shoulder, pulled me over his left leg He flipped my skirt up over my head and jammed it into that hand I heard the sound of the belt swinging up, a song in the air, a highpitched terrible sound It hit me and I screamed Daddy Glen swung his belt again I screamed at its passage through the air, screamed before it hit me, I screamed for Mama He was screaming with me, his great hoarse shouts as loud as my high thin squeals, and behind us outside the locked door, Reese was screaming too, and then Mama All of us were screaming, and no one could help..He never said, “Don’t tell your Mama.” He never had to say it I did not know how to tell anyone what I felt, what scared me and shamed me and still made me stand, unmoving and desperate, while he rubbed against me and ground his face into my neck I could not tell Mama I would not have known how to explain why I stood there and let him touch me It wasn’t sex, not like a man and a woman pushing their naked bodies into each other, but then, it was something like sex, something powerful and frightening that he wanted badly and I did not understand at all Worse, when Daddy Glen held me that way, it was the only time his hands were gentle, and when he let me go, I would rock on uncertain feet Two weeks later we were back home with Daddy Glen Nothing had changed Everything had changed Daddy Glen had said he was sorry, begged, wept, and swore never to hurt me again I had stood silent, stubborn, and numb This is the story of abuse everywhere But not too many people can write about it like Dorothy Allison has And you ask what was happening to Bone’s younger sister, Reese? Very often there is a special child who is the object of all of the abuse while others are untouched Bone was that special child in her family The emotional damage done to Reese is undoubtedly severe even though she was spared the physical and sexual abuse Child abuse has a strong blamethevictim component Daddy Glen would beat Bone and her mother asked, “What did you do to make him do that?”Allison explains her writing about abuse:The need to make my world believable to people who have never experienced it is part of why I write fiction I know that some things must be felt to be understood, that despair, for example, can never be adequately analyzed; it must be lived But if I can write a story that so draws the reader in that she imagines herself like my characters, feels their sense of fear and uncertainty, their hopes and terrors, then I have come closer to knowing myself as real, important as the very people I have always watched with awe..By the time I taught myself the basics of storytelling on the page, I knew there was only one story that would haunt me until I understood how to tell it—the complicated, painful story of how my mama had, and had not, saved me as a girl Writing Bastard Out of Carolina became, ultimately, the way to claim my family's pride and tragedy, and the embattled sexuality I had fashioned on a base of violence and abuse.Source: the online essay from which those paragraphs are taken, will tell you much about Dorothy Allison and her writing The phrase ‘semiautobiographical’ will become clear to the reader.It hurt to read parts of this book Bone’s reaction to being abused is so typical and so distressing “It was my fault, all my fault I had ruined everything.” But there were also some good parts It made me remember being a child and playing with a gang of kids in my neighborhood It reminded me of the strength within a family, even within a troubled family.The Boatwright clan of Greenville County, South Carolina has to be your stereotype of an extended family with boatloads of hate andboatloads of love To call them a dysfunctional family is too neat and tidy a summary Their interactions with anyone outside the family are limited, at least according to Bastard Out of Carolina Lots of parents and grandparents and sisters and brothers and inlaws and nieces and nephews and cousins populate this book The outsiders are medical people we meet at the hospital when the Boatwrights hurt each other enough, a nearby family with an albino daughter who vie for an oddity award, the law for when a Boatwright gets involved in something illegal (common but still the family tries to deal with its own infractions), the people in the diner where Mama often works There is a family album with the newspaper articles about the family – mostly things that you might not think people would be proud of The newspaper photo of the pickup truck that a drunk Earle drove through a barber shop window is a good example.There are still real Boatwrights in a real Greenville County, SC The book will tell you, of course, that this is a book for fiction and any resemblance is coincidental! I don’t know how exactly how that works when a book is acknowledged to be semiautobiographical.(view spoiler)[ One of the most difficult questions left unresolved is Bone’s relationship with her mother who chose abuser Daddy Glen over abused daughter Bone That choice is made shortly after the mother observes her husband raping and beating her twelve year old daughter on the living room floor of a sister’s house This is the sister who loved her husband so much that she wanted to cut his throat with a razor The implication is that Bone forgives her mother although the mother and stepfather move away from the area and Raylene, the gay aunt, says her mother will never forgive herself Raylene knows this from her personal experience of having a lesbian partner choose her baby over Raylene This is divulged at the conclusion of the book Nothing should be a surprise since Raylene is, above all, a Boatwright If Bone is Dorothy Allison, the psychiatric bills must be immense But she did become a pretty good writer – at what cost, I ask The book is dedicated to Ms Allison’s mother, so I guess there must have been some reconciliation at least mentally (hide spoiler)]


About the Author: Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison is an American writer, speaker, and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers Themes in Allison's work include class struggle, child and sexual abuse, women, lesbianism, feminism, and family.Allison's first novel, the semi autobiographical Bastard Out of Carolina, was published in 1992 and was one of five finalists for the 1992 National Book Award Allison founded The Independe