Bastard Out of Carolina Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read a couple of reviews on this book before I committed to read it myself. That's usually the first step for me.. reading what other people have to say about the book. Next is reading the first paragraph. I think if you're bored after the first paragraph, it's pretty telling of how you'll feel about the rest of the book. (I totally proved myself wrong on that point, though, with the most current book I'm reading. The first paragraph was a drag but I didn't have an alternate with me on my flight.)


Bastard Out Of Carolina is about a girl growing up in the South. She faces a lot of adversity but the story is told with such grace and style that it feels decadent to read. It was sweet, and sad, and sorrowful, triumphant, and strong all at once.

A couple of my favorite passages:

"There was only one way to fight off the pity and hatefulness. Mama learned to laugh with them, before they could laugh at her, and to do it so well no one could be sure what she really thought or felt. She got a reputation for an easy smile and a sharp tongue, and using one to balance the other, she seemed friendly but distant. No one knew that she cried in the night for Lyle and her lost happiness, that under the biscuit-crust exterior she was all butter grief and hunger, that more than anything else in the world she wanted someone strong to love her like she loved her girls."

"They want you, oh yes, they want you. Till they got you. An't nothing in this world more useless than a hardworking religious fool. It an't that you get religion. Religion gets you and then milks you dry. Won't let you drink a little whiskey. Won't let you make no fat-assed girls grin and giggle. Won't let you do a damn thing except work for what you'll get in the hereafter. I live in the here and now, and I need my sleep on a Sunday morning. But I'll tell you, I like it that they want me, Catholics and Baptists and Church of Gods and Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists, all of the hungry for my dirty white hide, my pitiful human soul. Hell! None of them would give two drops of piss for me if I was already a part of their saggy-assed congregations."

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