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Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  7,999 ratings  ·  832 reviews
In this moving, poignant novel by the bestselling author of Birds of America we share a grown womans 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
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  7,999 ratings  ·  832 reviews

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Apr 17, 2008 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 ...more
Adam Dalva
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jul 14, 2007 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
2 ½ 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 couldnt quite pull off, because the story two stories, really didnt 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
Katie Schmid
Jul 06, 2014 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.
Apr 30, 2014 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
Jun 18, 2008 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
Kevin Shepherd
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lorrie Moore's prose is, at just the right moments, lofty and lyrical without ever being pretentious. Yes, it's a coming of age story about the awkwardness of transition, a storyline that's been done over and over and over again, yet never quite like this. Moore makes it seem effortless. She introduces us to Berie and Sils and their small bubble of a universe and 148 pages later we're nostalgic and reminiscent and more than a wee bit sad. I get that this isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. ...more
Nov 08, 2009 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. Im thrilled to have discovered her and Im 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 thats not too ...more
alana Semuels
May 25, 2010 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
Jul 11, 2013 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,
Adam Dalva
Oct 22, 2015 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
Chris Dietzel
Jul 04, 2015 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.
Oh the melancholy

I don't want to grow old like this. I don't want to grow up like this. Everything fading, friendships over, marriage falling apart, all of it so realistic and it's like nothing good happens to you in life after you go off to university but I'm already at university and so much is still happening, and there are still so many friendships that haven't ended. So my problem with this is the same as my problem with Moore's short stories -- it's so realistic that it stops being
Joan Winnek
Dec 04, 2009 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.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ignore the unfortunate title; this is as elegant and powerful a narrative of remembrance as Nabokov's Speak, Memory.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Moore unfolds an important female friendship between two teenagers residing in Quebec during the 1970s. Interspersed within this story readers are inserted into the recent adult moments belonging to the narrator, Berie, who at present is married and visiting Paris with her geneticist husband.

The story alternates back and forth during which readers gain first impressions of love between two friends escaping the oddities and constraints of their daily lives.

Time moves the friends lives forward and
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Blair by: Lee
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.
May 19, 2017 added it
Shelves: fiction
Recently I found myself thinking of Margaret Atwoods great novel Cats Eye, about a friendship, close and scary both, between two Canadian girls. This got me thinking of another great novel of young female friendship, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, by Lorrie Moore, and its my weekend read. Protagonist Berie, a photography curator in her late 30s, is in Paris with her husband, and the marriage is not going very well. She begins remembering the summer of her fifteenth year, in 1972, when she was ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
When I was in 11th grade, my English teacher, who knew how much I loved to read, recommended this book to me. Four years later, I found a copy in my favorite used bookstore in Philadelphia and five years after the initial recommendation, I sat down and read it in one evening.

I started reading it while I was taking a bath, and I really wish that I hadn't because I didn't bring a pen with me to underline my favorite parts. I'll reread it again and try to remember to do that.

This is one of those
Sadly, my favourite part of this novel was the title. It's not that Moore can't write, but what a depressing story that I feel like I've read so many times. If you like to read novels about 15 year olds who smoke, steal, smoke pot who both live in disfunctional families who are teens in the very early 1970s, and then the protagonist is now married and staying with a spouse who cheats on her, and there is much symbolism in how they like to eat brains (how the books starts and it comes up again ...more
Jul 28, 2011 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
Oct 01, 2014 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
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love me some teenage angst. Oh who am I kidding. I love all angst.
Michael Livingston
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short, beautiful coming of age story, written with Moore's characteristic wit and charm.
yasmine skalli
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
i think that maybe if i were to read this book later in my life it would be more appealing. so for now, its a 2/5. ...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
How did I not read this book when it came out back in the 90s? It is precisely about women of my generation. It takes place during one summer in the 1970s when Berie and her best friend Sils are working together at a theme park in their small town. Moore absolutely nails female friendships of that era (or any era, I suppose). I could identify with Berie being the best friend of the girl all the boys liked. That was my best friend, too. The summer is eventful and Berie takes a great risk to help ...more
Stephanie Sun
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, 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 lifes 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-peers.
May 20, 2015 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
Ned Andrew Solomon
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think I'm a fairly intelligent someone, and then I get to reading Lorrie Moore. This is the second novel I've read by her - A Gate at the Stairs being the first - and they are both brilliant and packed solid with insights, fascinating concepts and fecund prose. She writes beautifully - unfortunately, I don't always understand what she's writing about! I will re-read paragraphs - as I often do - to try to understand, but sometimes I just scratch my head. It's as if I've encountered very ...more
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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 Magazines 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 Cornell ...more

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