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The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
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The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  901 ratings  ·  195 reviews
An enchanting story of twins,fame, and heartache by the much-praised author of Lullabies for Little Criminals

Heather O’Neill charmed readers inthe hundreds of thousandswith her sleeper hit, Lullabies for Little Criminals, which documented with a rare and elusive magic the life of a young dreamer on the streets of Montreal. Now, in The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, she ret
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published April 24th 2014)
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Us Conductors by Sean   MichaelsThe Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'NeillAll My Puny Sorrows by Miriam ToewsThe Betrayers by David BezmozgisTell by Frances Itani
Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist 2014
2nd out of 12 books — 4 voters
Dare Me by Megan AbbottBird by Bird by Anne LamottWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria SempleHousekeeping by Marilynne RobinsonSelected Stories by Anton Chekhov
Binders Recommend
122nd out of 130 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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i just loved this book.

it's taken me a while to sit down and write a review for this, because my love for it is difficult to put into words, it's just something inescapable, familial. it's definitely not a book for everyone. her writing style is something i can see being off-putting to some readers, but it just works for me - all that crowded poetic prose coming in just shy of being overworked. it seethes.

she also writes amazing this one, we have nicholas and nouschka tremblay - a
I am so behind on reviews, it's becoming embarrassing.

It's hard because I loved this book SO MUCH, so I don't want to just dash off some quickie thing, but the fact remains that I don't have time to envision and execute a review that's as wonderful as this book deserves. So here's what we're going to do, in three steps:

First you're going to read karen's review, which says lots of the things I would have said anyway, but in a brillianter way.

Second I'm going to do a very short summarizing.

Jennifer Brown
My friend won this book on Facebook, and gave it to me to read. I made a Goodreads account just so I could write this pre review (I'm excited that I got the book before it came out). I have never read Heather O'Neill's work before, but now I will go straight to Lullabies for Little Criminals.
This book blew me away! The writing style was absolutely beautiful, full of wonderful metaphors about love and a grungy city. My parents are from Montreal, and it is amazing to see how the culture from that
NOTE: If I could give a half-star, this would be a 2.5 star rating. Because of certain factors, I am bumping the rating up to 3 stars, because a 2 rating feels a little low.

First, let me say that I love a good figure of speech. Give me an unusual simile or metaphor that I would never have considered but is absolutely perfect, and I'm in heaven. And O'Neill has some amazing similes, ones that are truly inspired and make me smile. I loved them.

My problems with this book begin with the way O'Neill
I've been nibbling on this for almost two weeks, long enough the B asked me why it was taking so long for me to read it - was it awful or what? No, in fact it was so freaking good I just couldn't bear to read more than a few pages at a time so I could make it last longer. Basically, O'Neill has now done for dysfunctional families, abusive marriage, and possible schizophrenia in this book what she did for child prostitution & heroin use in Lullabies for Little Criminals; written about it a br ...more
There are two compelling reasons to read this book. First is the story - a rather disturbing, wild tale of the twin children of a fallen Quebecois singing star. The children have been abandoned by both parents and although they live with their grandfather, they are rather feral, disturbingly emotionally dependent and self-destructive. The story takes place in the St. Laurent neighborhood and the latest separation referendum is the backdrop and a catalyst. It was hard to watch these characters co ...more
Kelly McCoy
I’ve heard so many good things about Heather O’Neill, but this is the first novel of hers that I have had the pleasure of reading. I was a little skeptical at first because there are a lot of reviews cautioning that this book isn’t for everyone. So I started reading with few expectations, but I really wasn’t expecting it to be the amazing 5 star book that it is. It’s going to be a hard book to describe, but I will do my best.

Nouschka Tremblay and her twin brother Nicolas are famous in their home
Vikki VanSickle
I admit I am one of few people who have not yet read Lullabies for Little Criminals, but I will be seeking it out shortly after finishing this. I came to this book with no preconceived notions of O'Neill as a writer, only that people love her work. I am now one of those people who love her work. Noushka's world is so vibrant and visceral- I found myself simultaneously horrified and charmed by her circumstances. She is a narrator to cheer for, a young woman who wants to break free of her lifestyl ...more
Jakey Gee
[From the Canadian Giller Prize Shortlist 2014]

I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. Its brassy UK cover looks a bit like a hair straighteners ad and that ‘The Girl Who…’ title is uncomfortably close to the ‘Man Who Fell Out of the Window and Get Back in the Window I Said Get Back You Tiresome Kooky Provincial Bookclub-Oriented Twat’. Worry not.

It’s often surreal and presents a picaresque, urban folklore-like world – ordinary rules suspected. People pull guns. They steal cars. They pa

We were all descended from orphans in Quebec. Before I'd dropped out of high school, I remembered reading about how ships full of girls were sent from Paris to New France to marry the inhabitants. They stepped off the boat with puke on their dresses and stood on the docks, waiting to be chosen.

They were pregnant before they even had a chance to unpack their bags. They didn't want this. They didn't want to populate this horrible land that was snow and rocks and skinny wolves. They spoke to their
leslie nikole
If you liked her debut novel, O’Neill’s second project “The Girl Who Was Saturday Night” will definitely be enjoyable. If you live in Montreal, you’ll love it even more. As an Anglophone born to immigrant parents, such a unique experience and upbringing has never had enough room for me to explore Quebecois culture (because at most times someone in government was trying to shove it down my throat). “The Girl Who Was Saturday Night” does not come off as a historical fiction, but it definitely loom ...more
I loved her first novel, 'Lullabies for Little Criminals,' and am thrilled to say that TGWWSN ups the ante yet again! I love her use of metaphor, the vivid images that she creates with the stringing together of three or four seemingly ambiguous words that hit the bullseye each and every time. Each chapter has the image of a cat on its first page, and her delightful images of these felines was a quirk that I came to look forward to! I fell in love with Nouschka and Nicholas, even found myself war ...more
It bothers me that the girl on the cover is a blonde when Nouschka has black hair. I suppose in the scheme of things, this is unimportant, but I thought about it more than once. So you could say, there were a few times when it preoccupied my mind. Which is not not important. Hm.

The other thing is, the hailstorm of similes. Like an outbreak. Like an invasion. Like a cat feverishly clawing away at a scratching post. Like an ambitious tribe of fire ants taking over a picnic. Like a circus with too
Angela Auclair
I finished this book a week ago and I am still thinking about it. I think having grown up in Quebec, so many pieces of this story resonate with me. The fact that the book started with a reference to Petula Clark, yes, the singer, who made friends with my mother over our pet goose in rural Quebec while pregnant with me, had me thinking that this book was going somewhere special. And it did.
I could smell the apartment they lived in. I know the bikers O'Neill describes. The relationship between No
Nothing I can say will do justice to this book. It was absolutely fantastic. At the first third I was excited and started thinking of Heather O'Neill as the female Canadian equivalent of Bukowski. And then I read the second third. And then the last. And I realized, O'Neill is better than that. All Bukowski could do was give you a portrait of someone NOT to be. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is the hand that reaches into that pit and helps you pull yourself out; it'll take some strength, and you ...more
Another great book from Heather O'Neill.

O'Neill is one of those rare authors who can write in such an effortless, unassuming way. I admire her ability to describe such squalor and heartbreak in such a beautiful way. She's one of those authors who makes you put down the book while reading so you can reflect on what a perfect sentence or notion you just stumbled upon.

Like Baby, Nouschka Trembley is an enticing narrator who bring us into her world of chaos and beauty without pretension. We are priv
Linda Cohen
I liked this but I adored her first novel and this just was missing something for me--I don't quite know what. And it was forever between this and her first novel so I guess I have to wait forever again to see what she does next. Fie!!
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is set in the bohemian quarter of Montreal during the 1995 Referendum. The story is told through the eyes of 19-year-old Nouschka Tremblay, whose life changes dramatically over the course of the novel: she begins night school, leaves home, marries a schizophrenic and falls pregnant. She also — rather unexpectedly — meets her long-lost mother for the first time since she was a little girl.

It is, essentially, a coming-of-age tale, but it’s not your usual run-of-the-
Shirley Schwartz
This book will break your heart. Such a surprising story! At the beginning it looked like it would be a coming-of-age story about a pair of misfit twins who appear to be running of the rails and running circles around their care-giver grandfather. Nicolas and Noushka Tremblay appear to be 19 year-old out-of-control teenagers when the book opens. And yes, they are that, but as we read we hear about their sad and tragic upbringing. Abandoned by their teenage mother, exploited and then ignored by t ...more
This book… I can’t even… so much to say but I’m at a loss for words. I can’t wait to go back to Montreal! I loved Nouschka and I hated Nouschka. I wanted to hug her and then slap some sense into her. She is a free-spirit but such a lost soul. She is a genius but such an idiot. Just when you think she’s two steps forward she goes three steps back. This book touched on my every emotion, right down to the “OMG!” hand over mouth, set the book down to process what I had just read “I did not see that ...more
Selina Young
I think this book will grow on me as I reflect and discuss. There's more substance than I realize having just finished it.
I'm so charmed by this tale. It was the perfect thing to read on a VIA train to Montreal. It felt like reading postcards from the most romantic of young people, as full of dreams as they are of hopelessness.
Anna Bunce
You know the manic pixie dream girl trope? Well this book didn't just have the manic pixie dream girl, but a manic pixie dream twin brother, manic pixie dream grandfather, manic pixie dream father, manic pixie dream lover and quite frankly it just got exhausting.

The book seemed like a parody of itself, everything that happened and everyone was so big, dramatic, and sudden. It edged on romanticizing poverty. While Healther O'Neill's style was different and refreshing (although it did take me a w
It's like a box of special gourmet cookies. You bought them on an impulse - you read a review that they were really amazing. And now there they are - sitting on the kitchen counter. Calling to you. And you're on a diet. Surely just one won't hurt. There's no one to tell, except the grey cat who slinks through the hallway like a shadow - or some former tenants conscience.

So you eat them, one a day until they are all gone, and all you are left with is the memories of how decadent and delicious the
Heather Daoust
I absolutely loved this story! Heather O'Neill has an amazing way of using simple words and phrases to develop incredibly moving stories and characters. Her writing is visceral and heart wrenching. There were so many lines and passages in this book that I found so moving that I wanted to write them down, just so I could read them over and over again.
Two of my favourites were:
I was going to have the baby. I would fall madly in love with it, with a love that was enormous and unshakeable, with a
An incredible read. Heart-breaking with excellent prose and imagery. Heather O'Neill has perfected the art of writing about seedy Montreal and life on the underbelly of Canada from a young person's perspective. I especially like this perspective, because it's likely the purest truth, and conveys the depth of pain and strange behaviour from having an absentee parent. The story is steeped in the gritty realism of everyday life in first world poverty, while delivering some musings about life withou ...more
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

Okay, after hearing so much about this book I knew I needed to check it out, especially being a Canadian author. I have had Lullabies for Little Criminals on my TBR list for a while and after reading this one I will be picking it up ASAP. There is just so much to love about this book that is hard to choose a place to start.

This is a beautiful book about relationships and how the way that we are raised can really affect the future. Th
One-Eyed Pak
Heather O'Neill arrive grâce à une écriture sobre et précise à construire des univers un peu glauques, un peu naïfs, à la fois tendres et cruels. Nouschka Tremblay, comme Baby l'héroïne de Lullabies for Littles Criminals, est intelligente et digne face à l'adversité même si le monde extérieur est rarement clément avec elle. Fille du chanteur québécois, Étienne Tremblay (une sorte d'alter ego de Paul Piché ou de Robert Charlebois), elle doit composer avec l'abandon de ses parents et la célébrité ...more
It's 1995. The Quebec Referendum is coming and Nicolas and Nouschka Tremblay are twenty years old. They are twins with no mother figure and a father who is more wrapped up in his past as a Quebec famous singer than in the lives of his children. Much like Heather O'Neill's first book, this book is about people who feel too deeply and are having to face adulthood proper for the first time in a rather forceful way. I'd almost argue that it's more gentle here but that's not saying much.

If you love s
Karen M
I almost finished this book standing at a subway station even though I had somewhere to be. Trust me, I tried. I stood in the station for 20 minutes reading before I could tear myself away and get on with my tasks. I finished it as soon as I could when I got home and I just sat there for a while after I was done, feeling the impact of the book. It tugged at my heartstrings. With The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Heather O’Neill has created a strong group of sympathetic characters and touches poig ...more
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Heather O'Neill was born in Montreal and attended McGill University.

She published her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, in 2006. The novel won the Canada Reads competition (2007) and was awarded the Hugh Maclennan Award (2007). It was nominated for eight other awards included the Orange Prize, the Governor General's Award and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize. It was an international bes
More about Heather O'Neill...
Lullabies for Little Criminals And They Danced by the Light of the Moon Two Eyes Are You Sleeping (New Writers) The Minister's Daughter Daydreams of Angels: Stories

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“On of the reasons that I wanted to study literature was because it exposed everything. Writers looked for secrets that had never been mined. Every writer has to invent their own magical language, in order to describe the indescribable. They might seem to be writing in French, English, or Spanish, but really they were writing in the language of butterflies, crows, and hanged men.” 6 likes
“When you are born and put into your crib, the whole world sticks their heads over the tops of the bars. They give you a name and they have all sorts of different ideas about you.

But your task is to become something much more unique and surprising than anyone your parents could ever imagine you to be. You have to know that the life you have is completely yours.”
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