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Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

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This autobiographical novel has had a huge impact upon American and even world literature. It was a finalist for the National Book Award and won other honors, but it also horrified many people. It and the film based on it have been banned from many venues. This book was one of the first exquisitely written explorations of sexual abuse told from an unflinching working-class perspective. Allison grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, the daughter of a single mother who worked as a waitress and cook. When she was five, her mother married, and her husband began to sexually abuse Allison, eventually infecting her with a serious, untreated, case of gonorrhea which destroyed her reproductive organs. Not only was Dorothy Allison the first of her family to graduate from high school, but she became a National Merit Scholar. While attending college in Florida and graduate school in New York City, she held a wide variety of jobs. Her first book, a story collection, Trash, won her two Lambda Awards given to outstanding lesbian fiction. Bastard Out of Carolina came out in 1992. For several years now she and her partner have lived in the Napa Valley for California, and she has continued to publish outstanding books. She is a delightful guest speaker who shares her opinions in a forthright working-class way that delights most in her audiences but can shock and dismay college administrators and other bastions of the status quo.

New York: Penguin, a 1993 paperback reprint of a 1992 release. 309 pages. Trade paperback.