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The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,477 ratings  ·  581 reviews
Heather ONeill charmed readers in the hundreds of thousands with 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 returns to the grubby, enchanted city with a light and profound tale of the vice of fame and the ties of family.

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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published April 24th 2014)
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Joan not at all. I don't recall that quote but it would have likely been the only reference...figure skating maybe as one of the main characters was a…morenot at all. I don't recall that quote but it would have likely been the only reference...figure skating maybe as one of the main characters was a figure skater(less)
Keys Die You should beware of motherless children. They will eat you alive. You will never be loved by anyone the way that you will be loved by a motherless…more“You should beware of motherless children. They will eat you alive. You will never be loved by anyone the way that you will be loved by a motherless child.” (less)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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karen
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 characters.in this one, we have nicholas and nouschka tremblay - a
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Thebookthief
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
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Oriana
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.

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Anna Bunce
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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Jennifer
I just love Heather O'Neill's off-kilter, sexy, scrappy writing.
Jennifer Brown
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Vicki
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
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Ruthie
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Krista
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, 2014

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
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Melissa
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aaron
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 ...more
Barry
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Laura
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the third book I've read by Heather O'Neil. There are a handful of authors that I feel a profound connection to and she, I can happily say, is one of them. It's hard to explain but how I feel reading these authors' work (or sometimes it's just one book of an author's collection,) is mostly peaceful and familiar with little jolts of electricity. The works have similarly struck me with their beautiful imagery that I relate to, and feelings that I've had some of the same thoughts and ways ...more
Harpercollins Canada
Since reading Lullabies For Little Criminals in 2007, I have been a huge fan of Heather ONeill. But if you look at my list of favourite novels (including both of her novels, plus The Enchanted and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, to name a few) this is no surprise. I love metaphors. I love similes. The higher a book is on my list of favourites, the more likely it is that there are pages dog-eared and quotes underlined.

While reading The Girl Who Was Saturday Night on Toronto transit, I found
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Jennifer
3.5-stars, really.

oui ou non? ce est une question facile avec pas de réponses faciles. yes or no? it is a simple question with no easy answers. this premise seems to be the heart of the novel for me.

o'neill weaves the politics of the 1995 quebec referendum into this novel. the referendum, for those unfamiliar, asked citizens in quebec if they should remain as a part of canada, or become an independent state? in english, the ballot read: "Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign after
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Natalie (CuriousReader)
I was really looking forward to reading Heather O'Neill's books but I have to say I'm a little surprised this book is 'an international bestseller', what book were people reading? I must have missed something. This book isn't entirely without it's strengths, I actually liked basically all of the themes that the book explores. There's the political situation between Canada and Quebec that is central to basically all of the character's lives, if not central it's at least very much a backdrop for ...more
Angela Auclair
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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Niki
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
2 stars. Bland. Vaguely forgettable. Disappointing after having read The Lonely Hearts Hotel by the same author.

Nouschka was an idiot, so it was hard to relate to her, or cheer for her, or even care about her enough to want her to be happy or make a right decision for once. And, unfortunately, she's our POV character, and the one we follow through the story. Her and her stupid decisions.

Nick may have been reckless and way out of line at times, but at least he was interesting. Too bad that wasn't
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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 ...more
Kara Babcock
Normally when I love a book, I inhale it, reading it so quickly that its gone before I realize how much I should cherish this unique experience of reading it for the first time. It took me a little longer than normal to read The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, enough that I started to savour it. Each brief, cleverly-named chapter was a small episode in the life of Nouschka Tremblay. And it was perfect, for I did indeed love this book.

I loved Heather ONeills first novel, Lullabies for Little
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Jake Goretzki
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
[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.

Its often surreal and presents a picaresque, urban folklore-like world ordinary rules suspected. People pull guns. They steal cars. They pack a
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Kirsten Oilund
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that I thoroughly enjoyed as a new parent and as a Canadian who loves our stories.

...mothers took your problems from you and fretted about them for you, even if there was no reason on earth why they should, even if you had done everything to create your own mess.
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leslie nikole
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you liked her debut novel, ONeills second project The Girl Who Was Saturday Night will definitely be enjoyable. If you live in Montreal, youll 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 looms in ...more
R K
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
3.75/5

I was trying my best to straighten out my life, but I always ended up in the middle of some festive waste of time.


If you pay attention to the names of the books Heather ONeill name drops, youll notice their connection to Noushcka, our main character. This book best summarized is about the rutting of life. The repetitious cycles people find themselves roaming around endlessly. Its exhausting. Its tiring. And it doesnt help if you were a child star. Noushcka and her twin Nicolas Trembley are
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Joanna
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was lucky enough to get a free copy of this book as a First Reads reviewer. I really wanted to love this book, the first chapter was a joy to read it was evocative, interesting, well-written, poetic and drew wonderful pictures in my mind. I continued to love the writing style but for me the plot just didn't really go anywhere.

I think this may be down to it not being a good fit between reader and book. The characterisation was brilliant and Heather O'Neill had a cast of interesting, likeable
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Nikki Stafford
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could wrap this book around me like a blanket and take it to bed with me, I would. I loved this book SO much, and you really have to experience it to understand why; a plot synopsis simply wouldn't do it justice. Heather O'Neill has taken this broken family and made them the result of hundreds of years of Quebecois history, a family that seems to be in splinters, and yet is so tied to one another, so connected through trauma and heartbreak, that no matter what they do, they just can't ...more
Alexa
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fab-15
An oddly quirky reading experience, full of the most unusually delightful descriptions and metaphors. The story simultaneously manages an immediacy and an absurdist lack of reality that is very discombobulating.
Selina Young
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I think this book will grow on me as I reflect and discuss. There's more substance than I realize having just finished it.
Paul
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While my love for contemporary fiction has definitely grown in recent times I seem to be going for a more specific form of it with each reading. I like to delve into the dark and seedier side of things. Reading about the dark side of life for some reason seems to work. And when coming to this book that is what I was most defiantly looking for. The blurb on the back seemed to fit the bill, What happens when all the fame has gone when the wave has crashed down and people are starting to forget ...more
Stephanie (aka WW)
(4.5 stars) In 2020, Im making a concerted effort to read books that have been on my shelves for some time. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is the second of such books, so Im off to a good start. This book deserves much wider readership than it has had. I love the writers style, her stylized language. I started to highlight passages, but found something every other paragraph worth noting.

This is a coming-of-age story of gorgeous, famous (at least in Quebec), motherless twins Noushcka and
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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
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