Bone tells us the story of her tough childhood. She is a girl who has survived poverty, tyranny, prejudice, and abuse while growing up in Greenville County, South Carolina. And like most stories told by a child-narrator, the truth that Bone sees around her is conveyed in a very unsentimental, factual way. You’ll meet the Boatwright family: opinionated aunts, rough-hewn uncles, and Bone’s mother, Anney, who finds love in Glen, an unprincipled man who becomes Bone’s stepfather. Glen and Bone are constantly at odds and as Bone grows older, her encounters with Glen become more vicious until Anney must make a choice between her daughter and her husband.
I usually love child-narrators, and Bastard Out of Carolina was no exception. Bone is a great storyteller. But her story is not a happy one, and I felt outraged as she continued to suffer and move on without comment. It is a good story, a real story of a real place and very realistic characters— which makes Bone’s trials even more depressing. Her relationship with her mother was the final straw for me; Allison outlines perfectly how not to be a parent, but of course, the circumstances are always more complicated than that.
An eye-opening book that demonstrates how a child can survive injustice and still learn to grow beyond the ugly bounds of her experiences.