A review by badwolfreads
Betty, by Tiffany McDaniel

challenging dark emotional sad tense slow-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? No


Tiffany McDaniels


You know those really terrible 20-car pileups? That's what this book reminded me of. And not in a bad way (although there really isn't anything good about a car accident). It was like watching cars slowly crash into each other. It's terrible, but you don't want to stop looking. Traumatic event after traumatic event crashing into each other.

This book is about the Carpenter family, mostly about Betty. Alka & Landon, the parents, didn't meet in a particularly special way, but what was special was that Landon beat the shit out of Alka's dad after he found out he beat her. They ran off and had 8 kids, 2 of whom didn't last long. Landon is Native American with dark-skin, and so is Betty. This being in the time they were in and in Ohio, racial discrimination was pretty brutal, even among themselves. Alka, who was white, would tell Betty terrible things about how she looked. And so did her sister, Flossie. Then there was rape - 2 of the female characters were r*ped and Betty herself was almost raped, and these incidents weren't by strangers. Alka Carpenter isn't the greatest mom, but when you consider what happened to her, it makes more sense. There just so much that happens. The book takes place over the span of many years, which makes it seem really slow. There isn't a lot of happiness that comes through in this book, at least not for me. But it kept me reading and wanting to know what happens to certain characters. I would recommend with caution...this one is kind of heavy.

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