The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie by Ayana Mathis


Imgres-1The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a written by Ayana Mathis, a first time novelist.  It is the story about the family of Hattie.  Hattie was part of the great migration north.  Hattie was 15 when she moved to Philadelphia from Georgia after she married a man who in the end gave her one disappointment after another.  Between the frustration in her marriage, the lack of cash and the many children she bore made Hattie a really cold unhappy woman.  The unhappiness that ran through her body bled into all of her childrens lives as we learn more about each of them over the course of the book. 

The part of this book that really sat with me is how Hattie had all those kids and the impact she had in their lives was obviously huge and so tragic.  She wasn't able to break the cycle of unhappiness.  Perhaps only a book but it made me think about how mothers are such role models to their children.  We of course are never perfect even though I do believe most of us try to be good parents to our kids.  Yet no matter what we do there is always going to be something we did wrong.  It's life.

My Mom was not exactly the warmest person when it came to our friends.  She just wanted to make sure that we were independent and didn't fall off the ladder.  If we did she would be there to prop us back up and then went along on her way.  It was who she was.  She felt she did her best and that was all we could ask for.  Her mother was not the warmest either and very much about herself.  I am not so sure my Mom broke the mold but certainly shifted it a little.  

This book had made me think more about motherhood.  It is a topic weighing heavily on my head these days.  When the kids are young Mothers are the primary focus of their childrens lives, when they are a little older and still under your roof they are still reliant on their Mothers.  As they grow older and have their own lives even though you are still the Mother, you are not part of the day to day.  It is a good thing but it is a transition for the Mother not for the kid.  

Funny enough, even Hattie's kids understood that many of the roads they traveled had to do with the Mother they had.  It is life and it is just something that I am thinking about.