Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
There are many reasons we enjoy reading. Sometimes I read because it strips my illusions away. My eyes are cleaned and I see the world anew. This is the story of Bone, a girl stained by the label of “bastard” on her birth certificate. In the midst of the poverty, abuse, and violence, her mother focuses her shame on this label. Bone is raped and beaten by her mother’s boyfriend. Raylene, Bone’s aunt, takes her to raise. As Bone is recovering, her mother comes with the revised birth certificate, asks for forgiveness, and disappears without saying where she will go. Allison writes of the societal oppression in the South, the abject poverty and violence, the aching loneliness of Bone, her anxiety over her sexual identity, the vicious rape, and the bare violence of her life. It took me a while to get over this book. Allow for recovery after reading this. Wipe your eyes and look at a flower. But read it.