A review by booksbeyondthebinary
Betty, by Tiffany McDaniel

challenging dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


This is a coming-of-age story that is told so poetically that it had me invested in the lives of these characters from start to finish.

Our titular character, Betty, inspired by the authors mother, navigates growing up in a household of 6 children, including herself. Her father is Cherokee and her mother is white, making their approach to Betty, who resembles her dad in more than just her appearance, hard to witness at times, especially with her mom.

Her unique relationships with each of her siblings is interesting as well. When you have that many children in one family who are all unique in their own ways, it can cause for tension as each one is navigating finding themselves through their adolescence.

An aspect of this book that was hard to read detailed experiences of child rape and incest. Mcdaniels was able to navigate those topics and the impact that they had on the characters in a way that I think few authors are able to do, which is a compliment to her writing ability.

The relationship that Betty has with her father is something that had be genuinely sobbing through the last few chapters. My eyes were red as I finished the book and tried to go to sleep last night, trying to unpack my feelings about this book.

I will be thinking about this book for a very long time and, if you are in a space where you are able to read this book with it’s tough content, I’d highly recommend it.

Content warnings: racism, misogyny, rape, abuse (physical and mental), animal cruelty, corporal punishment, attempted suicide, murder, and depictions of extreme poverty.

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