Mari's Reviews > Girlchild

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
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May 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-reads-of-2012
Read from May 21 to June 06, 2012

"Girlchild" is about Rory Dawn, the self-proclaimed "feebleminded daughter of a feebleminded daughter," and yet the first word I'm filled with when thinking of how to describe this book is "smart."

And there is so much more: heartbreaking and honest, fearless and unique, well-written and interesting, unflinching and real.

I'll say two things here: 1.) I have a feeling that this book, and more Hassman's style is not for everyone and 2.) the first 1/4 of the book takes patience, mostly due to that style.

Rory's tale is told in short vignettes and flashes, often out of chronological order and often through stories that contain small truths in underlying metaphors. It's choppy at first, but the more I pulled at the layers and the deeper I traveled into the story, the more I was hooked.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates language or a turn of phrase. Hassman's writing is intelligent and cutting. She creates an interesting style with Rory, preserving an open, childlike air and yet commenting with so much wit on life at the Calle. There was a particular chapter than ended with a description of how karma caught up to the Hardware Man, and her words there made me audibly, "wow." Any book that elicits a reaction that makes the strangers around you think you are crazy has something to say for itself.

If you are the type of reader that needs a meaty plot to be happy, perhaps this isn't the book for you. "Girlchild" is propelled forward by the characters, and you could almost say that very little "happens" comparatively. Characters, writing and style are key here, and they are all done well.

I'd be lying if I said that every little chapter or flash story felt essential. There were a handful of times when I felt the drag of a particular chapter, but those moments were few, far between, and very outweighed by all that was good.

Overall, one of the best novels I've read all year. I know I'm pretty tenderhearted, but this did a good job breaking my heart. I'll miss Rory Dawn, now that I'm done reading, and really, I don't think there is a better compliment to a writer.
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Quotes Mari Liked

Tupelo Hassman
“I may not have been born captain of this boat, but I was born to rock it.”
Tupelo Hassman, Girlchild

Tupelo Hassman
“Take this one to the bank: birds are hatched from eggs and are always egg-shaped. Maybe there's no escaping the shape that molds you, no getting around how you got started even if you do break out.”
Tupelo Hassman, Girlchild
tags: birds

Tupelo Hassman
“No matter how smart you might appear to be later with your set of diplomas on their fine white parchment, the mistakes you made before the real lessons sunk in never fade. No matter how high you hang those official documents with their official seals and signatures, how shinning and polished the frame, your reflection in the glass will never let you forget how stupid you felt when you didn't know any better.”
Tupelo Hassman, Girlchild


Reading Progress

05/26/2012
20.0%
06/04/2012
40.0% "Reading slowly, so this book doesn't break my heart all at once. Jeez."
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