Young Adult Books – Banned

This is a book review on Dorothy Allison’s “Bastard Out of Carolina.” This emotional yet disturbing young adult novel was an intriguing read. Allison goes in depth of family values, morals and what love really is and what some people will do for it, even if it isn’t real.

This heartfelt and deeply written novel depicts the image of a lost child and a young mother who want love but seem to have much different perspectives on what love is. Ruth Anne Boatwright, better known as Bone thanks to her slick talking grandmother and aunts, has three birth certificates that claim her as an illegitimate child. Bone’s mother, Anney was only fifteen when she had her, and had grown up quickly. Southern hospitality seems to come a long way in Greenville, South Carolina with terms such as “yes ma’am”, “dumpling”, “honey girl” and sweet thing” and the women seem to take the lead in this strong-willed and strong-minded novel. Not only is Anney young but she is also beautiful, strong and independent. It almost seems as though the novel is making southern women out to be fast and not very intelligent, but Allison cleans up the stereotype by making the Boatwright women responsible, independent and strong-willed, at least in the beginning of the novel. The story of Bone and her mother is tough to read because of how much pain they both went through, especially with the story being told through the eyes of Bone herself. The novel describes the pain of loss and suffering of love and how this young mother and daughter overcame both. At first, there was Lyle who was just perfect for Anney and Bone, but an unfortunate car accident took him away from them. Bone had lost her friend Shannon and her Aunt Ruth. Having these losses at such a young age was hard for Bone as she tried to maintain a tough exterior. Finally there was Glen Waldell, who was Mister Southern Hospitality himself or so everyone thought.

Bone may not had been a perfect well spoken child, but she was a Boatwright woman none-the-less and they were tough women who weren’t afraid to speak their minds and had to grow up fast at a young age, just like her mother. As for any woman though, love can become a weakness and that is what happened to Anney and Glen. Though Glen came off as shy and sweet, he had some anger issues and controlling issues which got out of hand at times. What is a woman to do when the man she loves is the man she truly wants to hate but doesn’t want to lose? She could have left him for good or turned him into the police after he had raped Bone but she didn’t. Instead she gave up on all her responsibilities and left with Glen, leaving her now emotionally scarred daughter behind. Was it fear or love that caused Anney to leave? It seems hard to tell, but Allison made it pretty clear that when it came to domestic violent situations and children are involved, that they should come first but as her novel shows, it unfortunately does not always happen that way. Anney wanted love but not just any kind of love. She wanted the love of a man as opposed to the love of and from her children and that is what she had gotten from Glen, regardless of his actions. She was blinded by this love and even though he was angry and controlling he truly loved Anney and did not want to let her go and she did not want to lose love again. She was desperate for it, so desperate that she left behind her family for it. Allison’s intentions for young adult readers are for them to understand and know what love is before they use the term get into a situation like Anney did. The novel is full of laughs, tears and anger as Allison defines love in her own words as it is used for the right and wrong reasons.