Book Review: Betty

BETTY | Tiffany McDaniel
08.18.2020 | Knopf
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Betty Carpenter was born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and a white mother. Betty is the sixth of eight children. The world the Carpenter family inhabits is one of poverty and violence – both from outside the family and from within. The lush landscape of their family home becomes a refugee for Betty as her family’s darkest secrets unravel themselves. Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. She finds that her greatest escape is writing and with pen and paper. She will recount her family’s past and present and bury them deep within the dirt.

BETTY is inspired by the life of Tiffany McDaniel’s own mother and the love with which she has chosen to tell this story simply pours from the pages. This is a heartbreaking and difficult read, but the poetic writing abilities of McDaniel make it something you simply can’t put down. I fell in love with Betty Carpenter the minute she started to tell her story. She’s incredibly fierce, loyal, and strong. Her story is one that will shatter your heart and also manage to fill you with joy despite the pain. 

Heavier reads are usually harder for me to find my footing within, but I never once had that issue with BETTY. I was sold on the story from the moment it began. I will say that I did end up taking my time with this book and putting it down during the times it became a bit too much for me. 

I chose to listen to this one on audio and absolutely recommend that method! The narrator caught me a bit off guard with some of her pitch changes at the beginning of the novel, however, I was easily able to adjust and fall in love with her narration style.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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