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Betty

by McDaniel, Tiffany,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Unavailable 0 of 16 copies
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Summary
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
THE GUARDIAN * GLAMOUR

A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians about a young girl and the family truths that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

"A girl comes of age against the knife."

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence--both from outside the family and, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich with birdsong, wild fruit, and blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters.

Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family's past and present with pen and paper and buries them deep in the dirt--moments that have stung her so deeply she could not share them, until now.

Inspired by generations of her family, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by delivering this heartbreaking yet magical story--a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the most important voices in American fiction.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "McDaniel (The Summer That Melted Everything, 2016) returns to the Ohio of her ancestral roots for this epic, lyrical coming-of-age tale. Inspired by the life of McDaniel's own mother, the story follows Betty Carpenter, one of the youngest of her parents' many children. Born to their Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the only sibling with Indigenous lineage evident in her face. She endures unthinkable discrimination as early as kindergarten, where it becomes evident that finishing her education will be the fight of her life. She also witnesses great violence against her mother and sisters, leading Betty to question why womanhood is so endlessly bloody. To soothe a lifetime's worth of hardship experienced before adolescence, Betty picks up a pen. She writes to understand the unthinkable, even when she does not share her words with the world, even when she buries them deep into the ground. Even as a young child, Betty is wise and empathetic to the pain all around her: her town's, her family's, and her own. McDaniel's sophomore work is a sweeping and heart-wrenching exploration of how we understand our parents' lives and how our children will one day understand our own.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "McDaniel bases her raw if overwrought bildungsroman (after The Summer That Melted Everything) on the life of her mother. Born in 1954, narrator Betty is one of eight siblings whose cherished father, Landon Carpenter, a Cherokee, tells wondrous tales, and whose mother, Alka Lark, shares cruel truths ("God hates us," she says, referring to women). Betty recounts poverty, puberty, and the tragic loss of one sibling after the other. Betty looks like Landon and is abused at school by the prejudiced children and teachers of Breathed, Ohio. The episodic narrative revolves around Betty's struggles over whether to divulge a family secret involving incest and rape at the story's rotten core. Along the way, Landon, a finely rendered character, dispenses most of the wisdom ("Some people are as beautiful and soft as peonies, others as hard as a mountain"), but McDaniel gives Betty exceedingly precocious insights (at nine: "William Shakespeare wrote my father a Romeo heart and a Hamlet mind at the same time Henry David Thoreau composed him to have sympathy toward nature and a longing for paradise to be regained"). Still, she brilliantly describes Betty's self-image based on her father's stories of their ancestors. McDaniel is an ambitious and sincere writer, and occasionally her work transcends. (Aug.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Cherokee Indians -- Fiction.
Racially mixed people -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
Family violence -- Fiction.
Rural families -- Ohio -- Fiction.
Rural conditions -- Fiction.
Ohio -- Fiction.
Appalachian Region, Southern -- Fiction.
Bildungsromans.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First edition.
Language English
Notes "This is a Borzoi book"--Title page verso.
Description 465 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780525657071
052565707X
9781524711856
1524711853
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