The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is the debut novel of Ayana Mathis. Set over the course of fifty-five years, each chapter focuses on the life of one or two of Hattie’s children with the final chapter focusing on the matriarch’s grandchild. Through these different points of view, the reader gets a glimpse into Hattie’s world and an intimate look at the family she shouldered.
I LOVE this type of story telling. For me, One of the most enjoyable narratives is one with multiple viewpoints. Mathis pulls off this device with ease. Each chapter unfolds slowly but in the best way possible. You’re left sitting on the edge of your seat wanting more.
The way Mathis is able to give such depth to each of the many characters she introduces is amazing. There isn’t a single character within the pages that feels incomplete.
From well rounded characters blooms a family rooted in realism. The situations the family finds themselves in are relatable and highly probable. There were times I found myself thinking, “Mhmmmmm.”
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie will break your heart and give you hope. It’ll take you into the mind and workings of a mother who did and is doing all she can for the children who are telling her tale. Join the Tribe, y’all.