Two semesters ago, while taking LGBT studies, I read an autobiographical short story written by Dorothy Allison. She is the author of Bastard Out of Carolina and she wrote about being raised as poor white trash and a lesbian struggling to find a place in a world she never seemed to belong to. Her life as an outcast seeps into her storytelling. Allison has the ability to make the most mundane daily events come to vivid life while maintaining a sense that you can relate to her regardless of how foreign the events she writes about may be.
Bastard Out of Carolina is thirteen years of Ruth Anne "Bone" Boatright's uncharmed life after being born to an unwed girl only fifteen years of age. Nothing in life comes easy to the Boatright family and Anney, Bone's mother, is no stranger to struggle. Bone's birth father is never in the picture. Anney marries another man, births another daughter and becomes a widow in just a short time. To fill the void in her life and seek a daddy for her girls, she ends up somewhat reluctantly marrying Daddy Glen after a lengthy courtship.
The struggles that ensue are dark ones, but Bone is nothing short of hardened and resilient. Daddy Glen's resentment towards her is eventually expressed through physical and verbal abuse. Anney is torn between being a mother and a lover. Ultimately, this book is about the impact of family relations - flawed, healthy and otherwise. I truly did not want this book to end. Although there is rarely a happy moment throughout, the story is brilliantly told. A true classic.