Charli's Reviews > The Talk-Funny Girl

The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo
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's review
Jul 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: for-review, adult-for-teen

SLJl review:

MERULLO, Roland. The Talk-Funny Girl. 320p. Crown. 2011. Tr $23. ISBN 978-0-307-45292-4.
Adult/High School–Seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards is different. An object of ridicule in her small New Hampshire town, she speaks in a strange dialect that her parents’ extreme religious fervor has created to keep them separate from the outside world. The slightest transgressions cause Marjorie to suffer bizarre punishments like “facing” (church members poking her hard in the face while she wears a paper bag over her head) and “boying” (her parents addressing her as Boy while making her do menial labor dressed as a boy). Her family is barely scraping by financially, so she is told to look for work. Marjorie finds a job with Sands, a half-black man with a tenuous connection to her family, who is building what he terms a cathedral. While learning the stonemason’s trade, she discovers that life, along with all its many foibles, is larger than her small and miserable existence, and that she, much like the stone she begins to work, has an untapped inner strength. The Talk-Funny Girl encompasses a larger look at life and the way ordinary people live it. There is a strange foreboding throughout due to peripheral disappearances of young girls, which, although they tie into Marjorie’s story in an unexpected way, detract from the quieter, more intriguing narrative of a girl who is blooming and finding her way in a world outside her experience. The slow pacing and introspective tone is not for everyone, but teens who enjoy thoughtful explorations and an unusual point of view will appreciate Marjorie’s story.–Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI

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