Livingston Loves Lit: “The Twelve tribes of Hattie” Part 2

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This week we’ll discuss the chapters about Six and Ruthie.

1. “Six wasn’t sure religion was any more than a lot of people caught up in a collective delirium that disappeared the minute they stepped out of the church doors and onto the street. And who could blame them? Who would not want to be carried away by something bright and exalted? But Six wasn’t like the other church people. His experience of God was a violent surge he couldn’t control. He came to believe that, like everything else in his life, his preaching had something to do with his poor health.”

Six appears to have a complicated relationship with God and his gift. What do you think of his spirituality? Does he actually have the power to heal?

2. Although this chapter is named “Ruthie” we learn much about the relationship between Hattie and August. What did you think about Hattie running away with her lover, Lawrence and baby Ruthie, leaving the other kids with August?

3. How did you feel about August as a father after reading this chapter? Did you want Hattie to stay away or were you hoping she returned to August and her children?

1. I liked that Six seems conflicted about everything instead of just accepting his so-called gift and wielding its power out in the world. And I’m a romantic at heart so I prefer to believe that Six does have some kind of power to heal even if it’s his empathy and compassion.

2. This chapter was so beautifully written. Mathis manages to portray these two deeply flawed people with such grace and compassion that we are able to have empathy for both Hattie and August even as we see them behave in less than admirable ways.

3. Will August ever be father-of-year? Probably not. But I gained more compassion for him. He is a deeply flawed man but his love for his children is evident even though his actions seem to contradict that. What I loved about this chapter is that I never felt I knew how it would end. I was never certain if she would go back or not and when it ended the way it did, it felt inevitable. It is a tricky balance between predictability and inevitability but Mathis does it seamlessly in this chapter.

Please, feel free to join in the discussion by commenting below. You can also add your own questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy reading!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Just downloaded it (and do I really want “Oprah’s personal notes highlighted within the text?) . . . I’m a bit behind. Thanks for posing the questions; I’ll get in on the discussion when I get caught up!

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