This is one of those painful but important books.
Ruth Anne Boatwright, the bastard of the title, is born into a family of men who like to drink and fight and women who mostly marry young, have too many children and not enough support, but who manage to survive anyway. Her father was married to another woman and Ruth Anne, who is called by her family just Bone, never knew him. Her first stepfather died only a few years after marrying her mother. Her second stepfather comes to blame Bone for all the things that are wrong in his life – his own father’s rejection of him, his inability to keep a job or a house, and the death of his only son – Bone’s half-brother – at birth. He abuses her horribly, physically and otherwise. The systems that should protect, or at least avenge, her all fail. And even when her uncles take it upon themselves to punish him, it only seems to make matters worse. In the end Bone, a very insightful girl, is left angry and bitter.
A sad story, beautifully told. The narration is exactly right.
Cover image from Goodreads.
Title: Bastard out of Carolina
Author: Dorothy Allison
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Genre: Literary fiction