Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” as Want to Read:
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  8,908 Ratings  ·  1,421 Reviews
In these ten glittering short stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here, wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns; a family makes its living wrestling alligators in a theme park; and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Vintage (first published June 6th 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Margaret I think they have mixed emotions - some of them are desperately trying to adapt, and some like the little Mirabelle, will never adapt. What a great…moreI think they have mixed emotions - some of them are desperately trying to adapt, and some like the little Mirabelle, will never adapt. What a great story though. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is an unusual collection of imaginative, quirky, moving, unsettling, and stylishly written stories featuring troubled children as they learn, grow, and make their way in the world. Their parents are flawed and dealing with their own issues as well, like the minotaur who moves his human family out west for a fresh start. While I enjoyed the majority of stories in this collection, I found they suffered from sameness and repetition
Feb 14, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: hey-shorty
first of all - greg- i lied to you. i told you that the conch shell story (the city of shells) was my favorite because i felt put on the spot and distracted, and that was the first one i thought of. but my real favorite story is the one on the boated retirement community (out to sea). god - i felt that one in my dessicated old heart-sac.

i really enjoyed this collection. the stories all contain wavery bits of the surreal - her style reminds me more of kelly link than george saunders, which compar
Apr 11, 2008 sarah rated it it was ok
Honestly, I just can't read this anymore. There were two stories left, but I had to put it down.

Individually, the stories in this volume are highly creative, heartbreaking and imaginative, but taken as a volume, the sheer similarities between all of the tales made me want to pull my hair out. Russell is obviously very talented, but I'd love to read something that isn't told from an overly precocious child's point of view, that doesn't end in medias res, and that doesn't involve strangely allego
Jan 28, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories was quite good.

I'm awful at writing reviews for short story collections, mostly because I'm too lazy or forgetful to jot down notes about the individual stories when I finish them, so the entire collection sort of becomes jumbled up in my head. These kind of fall into the George Saunders like style of writing, weird slightly off-kilter distortions of the real world, but unlike some of the George Saunders-esque writers out there is never the feeling that Karen Ru
A pack of feral half-wolf girls raised by nuns in a foster home, a brother diving to find his little sister in a haunted cave, a family of minotaurs moving westward, two young girls living and growing up among alligators at an amusement park - all this and more awaits you in Karen Russell's debut collection of stories, published when she was just 25.

I have a bit of a crush on Karen Russell. Her stories are great - she has the rare combination of both imagination and talent, allowing her to creat
Nov 05, 2008 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories are wonderfully creative, beautifully written, and make me very jealous of Karen Russell in general. So why the low rating? Because almost every single one of the stories ended too soon! I don't mean "ended sooner than I would have liked, and I'm sad that I can't stay with it longer" - well, that's actually true as well. But I mean "ended right as things were getting interesting, leaving everything not just unresolved but in fact disappointing and bewildering, since there was no re ...more
The only reason this isn't a 5-star is that I hate short stories. Sorry, but I do. It just doesn't make sense to me -- either they're little bits of fluff that are quickly forgotten, or they're involved and interesting, and there is no reason for them to end.

The stories in this book are an example of the latter case. These stories are terrific! Karen Russel has an incredible command of language (she uses the word 'limn' in almost every story), and a fascinating imagination. The stories are haun
3.5/5. My favourite stories were: Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, Haunting Olivia & St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.
Stephen M
“The City of Shells closed to the visiting public over an hour ago. Now the boardwalk is deserted. Silent, except for the medleyed roar of the waves and the distant rumble of thunder. Gray, rain-bellied clouds are rolling in. Farther out, the sea is sluicing into night. There’s a hushed, tingly feeling in the air, as if the whole world is holding its breath. Only the silvery gulls dot the horizon. They peck at used condoms and empty Dorito bags with a salt-preened serenity.”

There are some author
I am very, very jealous of Karen Russell. She got to study creative writing at Columbia, she made New York Magazine list of twenty-five people to watch under the age of twenty six (and she was twenty-five when this book was published), and she also happens to be really, really talented. I bet she's really cool and her apartment is awesome and she has lots of great shoes.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (can I get that on a tshirt or something?) is a collection of short stories that mo
Confession time: I think Kelly Link’s and Aimee Bender’s short stories are only okay. Occasionally one of their tales will astound me, but mostly I’m a bit “meh” on them—especially compared to how much many readers I respect love them. (Personally, I prefer Stacey Richter.) So when I say that Karen Russell’s short stories read like Link or Bender rejects, I hope you can see how faint an endorsement that is coming from me. Most of the stories in this collection feature young first person narrator ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Juliet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't rate this more than 3 stars - I expected to like it far more from the blurbs, but although the language is clever, the settings evocative and the ideas original, there was a lack of warmth in the writing. I found these pieces more like fragments from longer works than true short stories. In particular, the lack of resolution at the end of most of the stories left me dissatisfied. I felt storytelling took second place to literary cleverness. But try this collection for yourself - my respo ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I had to read St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves for my English Lit. class. It's such an imaginative and intelligent book, with fantasy stories addressing important issues beneath the creativity and magic.
On its own, each story in this collection is a treasure, in which children have minotaurs for fathers or hunt for the ghosts of siblings washed to sea in giant clamshell sleds. Russell's distinct voice shines through each piece, and coming across one of these in the magazines where they first appeared would be a genuine treat.

Unfortunately, the stories are weakened by being strung together. Russell writes in a distinct voice, but nearly every story is written in that same voice. Each story ends
Apr 24, 2017 Kirsty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-2017
I read and enjoyed Russell's second short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, so it seemed rather obvious that at some point I would read her first, St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. It is a very odd collection; sometimes the magical realism was jarring, and I did not feel as though it tied together that well as a whole. A lot of the stories ended quite abruptly, and did not really live up to expectation. The narrative voices, almost all of annoying and precocious children, u ...more
Sep 03, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the third short story collection I have read now and the first one which is by Karen Russell. I would have to say that each of the collections I've read so far have been very vastly different, and this one is probably the most magical realism in tone and imaginative, which sometimes awed me and occasionally lost me.

There are 10 stories within this collection and of the 10 I gave 2 of them 5*s, 6 of them 4*s and 2 of them 3*s. I think that averages out o a 4* overall and I am happy t
3.5 stars.

This was my BookTube recommends pick from Jen Campbell - thanks Jen for suggesting this collection!

This was my first experience of Karen Russell's writing, having seen countless rave reviews on YouTube. Many booktubers that I know and love are massive fans of Russell, and I was eager to pick up this collection when it was recommended to me. Russell writes magical realism short stories, which I am not as familiar with because with short stories I usually lean towards contemporary collec
First of all, Karen Russell wins the award for best story titles, hands down: Ava Wrestles the Alligator, ZZ's Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, the title story, etc. The prose crackles. Several of the stories take place on a very strange and well-imagined island full of Bizarroland tourist attractions, perhaps off of Florida. She skims the waters of magic realism with the tips of her wings; the titles and the stories are packed with dream imagery. All of which is stuff I love.

Why, then,
Amy | shoutame
Mar 01, 2016 Amy | shoutame rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
A wonderful collection of short stories!

The ten short stories in this book are beautifully crafted, I thoroughly enjoyed the magical realism elements of the tales and found myself completely swept away!

We are told of wolf-girls, star-gazing and alligator wrestling - this book holds a story to grab anyone's imagination, I would recommend to all.
Dec 20, 2012 Wigs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading these short stories is like failed masturbation.

No, really.

You start, and things are going well, and you feel pretty good. But suddenly it’s over and there wasn’t even any climax and you just sit there unsatisfied.

And it happens every single time. It seems like her formula, each short story is unfinished and each time it gets a little more annoying because you know that’s what’s going to happen. The one exception is the final story, which happens to be the title of the book, and I very
Troy Blackford
Jan 11, 2012 Troy Blackford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I still really did enjoy this book. But there were some issues with it, and I think the amount of acclaim Karen Russell has received so far makes people nervous to voice them. This is a very evocative, imaginative, colorful, poetic book. I did enjoy it. But many times I wanted to stop reading in frustration.

Almost all of these stories are about kids whose parents run some kind of impossible themed attraction. Or have some kind of insane parents. Almost all of them end in what seems l
Dov Zeller
There are a lot of beautiful and sparkling moments, but they don't add up to something emotionally or narratively satisfying. As soon as I knew what she was up to in a story there were no surprises and often no deepening into meaning greater than what is offered in the initial concept. I had to bring the book back to the library or would say a bit more and post some passages.
Feb 10, 2013 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather"
Let me tell you something: Karen Russell has entire kingdoms in her head too. Very imaginative and creative ones. I don't know whether she can always access them or only in certain kinds of weather; but rich imagination she most certainly has, that much i can confirm.

Some of the stories, perhaps even a little too much, and i just got lost in a plot, of which
I'm about half-way through this collection of stories and so far they are hilarious. As offbeat as the title suggests, but very funny.

(added after finishing the book): Well, oddly enough, offbeat kind of wears thin after a while. So that, in the end, I give this collection only 3 stars. The cumulative effect of reading all these stories in a single week is a bit like being trapped in the funhouse - you emerge slightly dazed, and relieved to be back in normal territory. Although these stories wer
Jun 24, 2013 Kurt rated it really liked it
I was introduced to Karen Russell through a free Amazon Vine copy of Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, and I was eager to find this earlier collection of her short stories. The level of surreality definitely did not disappoint, nor did the level of thoughtfulness and emotion. Russell's stories here are mostly set in a fictional region in Florida (with some exceptions, like an adventure story on a glacier), and although some tales make oblique references to others, each stands independently. ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I'm the youngest kid in my family, but sometimes I wish I had a little sister like Scout from "To Kill a Mockingbird". My little sister would be my protege and fall under the auspices my protection. If I had a little sister I would chase off her teenage boy suitors with a baseball bat, I would take her to an ice cream parlor for dates and I would buy her this book. It seems like the sort of book a smart little sister would want to read: hip, cute, quirky, bold, featuring clever use of intertextu ...more
Jun 10, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: so-glad-i-read
A lot of sharp writing in here, phrases worth underlining and keeping separately in a notebook. And stories rightly worthy of acclaim. Russell creates characters who are just screaming at the world to find their places in it--places that just aren't there, so of course they have to make their own hovels, whether they are in giant shells or on the face of glaciers. Russell is probably one of the best writers about youth that I've read--many of her narrators are young boys, and she deftly avoids s ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Drew rated it it was amazing
This seems to be a slightly unpopular opinion, I'm discovering - but I adore Karen Russell's work. I had some issues with Swamplandia! but that book has stuck with me far longer than it had any right to, perhaps because it forced me to feel so strangely. But Ms. Russell's first book of short stories is incredible. None of them quite resolve and instead ring out like tones echoing through a church long after the organ has ceased to sound. They are all, even the most mundane ones, quite fantastica ...more
Kathy Ahn
Jan 19, 2009 Kathy Ahn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
I was uncertain about it when I started, but I ended up really enjoying this little collection. My favorite piece is the title piece, "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves", a wonderfully imaginative story about assimilation and etiquette for pre-pubescent to adolescent wolves as they move into the human world. It's full of some really humorous moments that made me laugh out loud, and instances of awkward growing pains that brought back memories of adolescence.

Most of the pieces are about
May 04, 2007 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whimsical, innovative, these magical-florida short stories capture that dreamy-woozy creepy gator feel of a floridian night. 'Florid' is an appropriate description: some of these stories felt overstuffed, with too many ten dollar words to slog through. Although her ambition is obvious, sometimes it got in the way of the story. That SAID, the last story (aka the title track) was darn near perfect. Too specific to be an allegory, it showed rather than told the ways in which we all end up becoming ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
  • Magic for Beginners
  • Diving Belles
  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories
  • Willful Creatures
  • Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories
  • Meet Me in the Moon Room
  • Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
  • Gryphon: New and Selected Stories
  • What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
  • The View from the Seventh Layer
  • Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
  • For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
  • Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories
  • Museum of the Weird
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
Karen Russell graduated from Columbia University's MFA program in 2006. Her stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, Conjunctions, Granta, The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Zoetrope. Her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was published in September 2006. In November 2009, she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree. I ...more
More about Karen Russell...

Share This Book

“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather.” 43 likes
“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there-and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.” 23 likes
More quotes…