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Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?
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Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,363 Ratings  ·  538 Reviews
In this moving, poignant novel by the bestselling author of Birds of America we share a grown woman’s bittersweet nostalgia for the wildness of her youth.

The summer Berie was fifteen, she and her best friend Sils had jobs at Storyland in upstate New York where Berie sold tickets to see the beautiful Sils portray Cinderella in a strapless evening gown. They spent their br
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Aug 05, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while you read a news story about a recluse who's devoted his life to some miniature: the New York skyline on a grain of rice, Angkor Wat in porcelain. This is how this novel feels to me. (I should note I have no reason to believe that Lorrie Moore is a bearded recluse.) Frog Hospital -- which I love, love, love -- isn't a novel of great inventiveness, or scope, or wisdom. It is a book of breathtaking craft. Moore takes her stock-standard, ever-powerful themes -- innocence and it ...more
2 stars

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital is the first book I have read by Lorrie Moore. Apparently it has been eight years since she last published a novel. My sense here is that she simply tried too hard, or perhaps she was shooting for something that she couldn’t quite pull off, because the story – two stories, really – didn’t connect in the way I suspected she wanted them to. Interactions between characters felt disjointed, and the writing often came across as contrived: Earl was Earl Gray, a m
Jul 14, 2007 Michael rated it did not like it
First off, let me say that I adore Moore's short stories. *Adore.* And find her work as a novelist as lacking in real bite or interest as, say, the novels of Ethan Canin, which are some kind of horrible. I read part of this once before and gave up and only picked it up again because someone I esteem loves it.

Hard pressed to explain why this novel so irritated me. It is written beautifully, of course; and the core story--about a seventies girlhood in a small town with the usual coming-of-age hooh
May 02, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

In Paris we eat brains every night.

So begins Lorrie Moore's sumptuous novel(la) Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, a work that's two-thirds girls-coming-of-age-in-the-Nixon-years and one-third a tale of middle-age regret and lost opportunities. That it's compressed into 150 pages (which, when reading, feels much longer, in a good way) imbued throughout with a "you-are-there" feeling, chock-full of memorable lines, is remarkable.

It starts with Benoîte-Marie (Berie) in Paris, traveling
Jul 03, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could not figure out where in Upstate New York this book was supposed to take place. The name of the town sounded like somewhere out near Elmira, details of the town at times sounded like Saratoga, but other details made the town sounds smaller, and more like a place sort of near Lake George. But then the distances mentioned at the end of the book made none of the earlier distances sounds correct. I'll ignore certain details and place the book as being in Saratoga, and the theme park as being ...more
Chris Dietzel
Jul 05, 2015 Chris Dietzel rated it really liked it
Lorrie Moore is quickly becoming one of my favorite literary fiction writers. She has a perfect blend of insight and humor mixed into her writing, a combination that leaves you smiling even as something painful or awkward is happening in the story. While this didn't grab me as much as A Gate at the Stairs or Like Life, it was still a pleasure to read. If literary fiction is your thing, definitely check out Moore's books.
Joan Winnek
Jun 06, 2011 Joan Winnek rated it really liked it
This is the second novel by Lorrie Moore that I have read, and now I want to read some of her short stories. This is a minimalist novel that alternates between the narrator as an adult with a tenuous marriage and narrator as a teenager in small-town America, embroiled in a friendship with another girl that she later revisits. Much is summarized; the highlighted moments are important and tender, several strands pulled into an impressionistic picture.
Nov 11, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
For some reason I was not aware of Lorrie Moore until I heard about her most recent book “A Gate at the Stairs“. I’m thrilled to have discovered her and I’m looking forward to reading as much as I can from her. “Frog Hospital” is a wander down memory lane. Moore and I are contemporaries so me (and a few billion other boomers) will easily recognize her sense of time. The place was a bit more foreign to me; it almost felt like Canadian though since Minnesota is so close to Canada that’s not too su ...more
alana Semuels
Dec 10, 2010 alana Semuels rated it it was ok
En general, I love me some Lorrie Moore. I thought Gate at the Stairs was funny and brilliant. The last story in Birds of America made me cry (Or at least it made me want to cry. I think I was in a good mood when I read it). But this book felt it was written while Moore was watching TV, or else that she dashed off a quick draft and sent it to her editor and it somehow got published, even though it was just a first draft.

It reminded me of when you go to an art gallery, and they have some special
Katie Schmid
Jul 06, 2014 Katie Schmid rated it it was amazing
The weather systems in girls' lives and friendships are worthy of serious study. That is the thesis of this perfect book.
Oct 25, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing
Ignore the unfortunate title; this is as elegant and powerful a narrative of remembrance as Nabokov's Speak, Memory.
Jul 19, 2013 Peluchi rated it it was amazing
Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? makes me want to sing in a choir and skip service at the same time.

a novel written from the perspective of a 40-something woman recounting her last summer as the best friend of an underage demigoddess, Lorrie Moore weaves bittersweet nostalgia with the present. (there is no there there.) berrie carr eats parisian brains in an attempt to taste something familiar, she catches up with her rich french-american friend living off french welfare who reminds her of sils,
Oct 01, 2014 Jo-anne rated it liked it
yet another book that should be almost 4 star.. beautiful use of language and very evocative of growing up and teen age angst. The book leaves a lot unsaid. painting a broad picture of a family that appears to have no emotional connection or warmth and the impact on the main character. The main thread discusses the closeness between two teenage girls..a bond that seems so strong at the time yet is so fragile when confronted by thereality of growing up.
Heard an interview with the author on pbs w
Aug 07, 2014 Blair rated it really liked it
Recommended to Blair by: Katy
Poignant, funny and beautifully written: a wonderful evocation of adolescent friendship and adult regret, hindsight, etc. A great coming-of-age story, and recommended to all fans of the same. Definitely want to read more by this author.
Jul 03, 2015 Carrie rated it really liked it
Like all Lorrie Moore books, this one made me confront truths about myself that I'd rather not entertain or mull over memories I'd rather forget. This time, though, I was thinking about a childhood friend who I liked way more than she ever liked me. That's the thrust of "who will run the frog hospital."

The story is told from the perspective of Beri as an adult in a lousy marriage on vacation. The narrator voices a feeling I've had, that we are all just collections of the people we've met, even t
Stephanie Sun
Jan 31, 2015 Stephanie Sun rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, mfa, clinton
“My life like an old turnip: several places at once going bad.”

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? is a look back at what the publishing industry euphemistically calls “young adulthood” by a writer who, during her own years on the young side of adulthood, preferred to dwell on life’s inglorious middle. While Moore refrains from some of the snappier crutches of the genre, she does demonstrate a fantastic ear for the pithy truths of those looking upon the grown-up world for the first time as near-pe
Jul 27, 2015 Garlan rated it really liked it
A really beautifully written little book. Moore's prose and deft turn of phrase make for a great read in this short novel. Mostly a flashback to one year of a young girl's life when she and her best friend began their journey into adulthood. Some really great passages that I had to underline; I even (gasp!) dog-eared a couple of pages so I could easily return for a re-read. Almost a 5 star read.
May 12, 2010 Laila rated it really liked it
This woman can write! Like this.

"Passing cafes and restaurants, I walk through the bright glance of men in love, who, looking briefly away from the lover across from them in order to more perfectly form a sentence, unwittingly cast their gaze across my path like a light. And so, momentarily, to have accidentally caught their desire, swimming across the current of it like that, passing through, I feel loved, in a warm and random way, wandering through it, as if it were a rainbow, that old trick o
Jul 28, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A slim novel but one of the best. The slender ones usually are. Or at least more likely to be than the fat ones.
A disillusioned woman, sort of stumbling through but forward in life, looks back on her coming of age and her relationship with her best friend. Captures the persona of a young teenager —funny, wisecracking at times, yet often tender and childlike, longing for simultaneous innocent childhood and adventurous adulthood.
“…my grandmother, who, when I visited, stared at me with the stagger
Adam Dalva
Oct 22, 2015 Adam Dalva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Once I saw a girl who'd been fired the year before driving around town still wearing that pinafore and dress. She was crazy, people said. But they didn't have to say."

There's no better writer of sentences, no funnier cultural being, than Lorrie Moore. The humor here comes, as always, fast and unexpectedly, the left cross of a joke landing while we're focused on the looping right of a plot arc. The main thrust of this novel is fantastic and poignant, as the lead remembers an adolescent year with
Jul 09, 2015 Estefanía rated it it was amazing
Más allá de la genialidad incuestionable de Lorrie Moore, toda persona que haya tenido un/una Silsby Chaussée en su vida va a atesorar con mucha nostalgia esta historia.
Apr 25, 2012 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love me some teenage angst. Oh who am I kidding. I love all angst.
Michelle Hart
what a beautiful little book.

elevator pitch: unhappy wife in paris reflects on the only time she was truly happy, when she was fifteen and helped her friend get an abortion.

i've never really been a fan of lorrie moore. i've read most of her books, though, hoping to see what other people see. and now i feel like i've finally seen the light. some of the sentences in this book are just gorgeous and almost literally breathtaking. "...feeling myself a goner in the minor-seven chords, their sad irres
Allison Floyd
In many ways, this is your standard issue depressing young-girl-coming-of-age story:

Beautiful butterfly pinned to the corkboard of life--check!

The Awkward One--check!

Languorous, sticky summer days--check!

Teenage trauma--check!

A turning point whence the protagonists shall never return--check!

A narrator surveying her adolescent landscape many years removed and concluding that she shall never, ever experience such a poignant time of life again, as her marriage crumbles into dissolution (that last
Oct 31, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it
I rarely read books about young girls (especially after reading a few too many YA-ish manuscripts at ye olde graduate school and elsewhere). This short novel was therefore a soft shock to my system -- my revulsion alarms were on, but never went off. In fact, every few pages burst with vivid images, fresh sentences, or what they call "poignancy". I actually felt my heartstrings pulled (I apparently have them!). I liked the parts in Paris when the narrator is older, eating Divorce cookies, more th ...more
Nov 11, 2008 Marie rated it liked it
I remember a member of our book group recommending this book not long after it was first published...and I've always remembered the title. Great title!

This was, for me, another book that didn't reach its full potential. Possibly because I found the grown woman a bit difficult to relate to, stuck in an unhappy marriage with no deep connections with any other human beings.

As she looks back on her childhood friendship with Sils, I found it easier to relate to her. This book made me recollect my own
Patricia Murphy
Jan 05, 2013 Patricia Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Once again I first feel the need to explain to you what I was doing in the early 90's instead of reading this book and others like it.

When this novel was published I was getting my MFA in poetry, so I was up to my arse in the Modernists. Now I'm taking the opportunity to revisit authors who were publishing during a time when I was not reading fiction, but I was living a life that was eerily similar to those I now find on the pages I read.

So, you know I love Moore. And some reasons for that are
Murray Madryga
Feb 16, 2013 Murray Madryga rated it really liked it
I reread this book because I always enjoy Lorrie Moore. So this 'review' is more likely to be a tribute.
It is a 'coming of age' story told by a narrator who, like Moore, is roughly my contemporary. So there are references to the Desiderata poster, Nixon, waterbeds, music from the same period. And the subject is largely nostalgia. Being Moore, she never gives in to cheap sentiment (which is always a danger, as most representations of nostalgia are in fact cheap sentiment). And being Moore, the wr
Sep 04, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2014 Carmen rated it it was amazing
On the surface, it's a fairly mundane story: a woman describes her failing marriage and also reminisces on her best friend in childhood. But it's the language that makes it great. The details. The choices of what to describe. The enveloping pocket in which the story places you. I was so entirely caught up that the mundane was transformed into something unique and captivating and it just felt perfect.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore 1 12 Aug 12, 2015 06:18PM  
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Lorrie Moore was born in Glens Falls, New York in 1957. She attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she tutored on an Indian reservation, and was editor of the university literary magazine and, at age 19, won Seventeen Magazine’s Fiction Contest. After graduating summa cum laude, she worked in New York for two years before going on to received a Masters in Fine Arts from Cornel ...more
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“I often think that at the center of me is a voice that at last did split, a house in my heart so invaded with other people and their speech, friends I believed I was devoted to, people whose lives I can simply guess at now, that it gives me the impression I am simply a collection of them, that they all existed for themselves, but had inadvertently formed me, then vanished. But, what: Should I have been expected to create my own self, out of nothing, out of thin, thin air and alone?” 23 likes
“I've accrued a kind of patience, I believe, loosely like change.” 16 likes
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