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Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  8,031 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews
Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plai ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Cherry Tina This book is just so perfect.
I love the writing style.…more
This book is just so perfect.
I love the writing style.(less)
T Madden Hi there! Yes, the book is now available on Audible; I narrated! I hope you'll enjoy! …moreHi there! Yes, the book is now available on Audible; I narrated! I hope you'll enjoy! (less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  8,031 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews

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Adam Dalva
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update: Longer thoughts here: https://www.guernicamag.com/in-search...

I came to this extraordinary memoir of linked essays through "The Feels of Love," a gobsmackingly good essay that the author wrote for Guernica Magazine. "The Feels of Love," which I have taught in every writing class since 2016, is a wrenching, vivid look at the rippling consequences of teenage sexual assault. I was excited for LLtToFG (great title!), and could only hope that the other essays would match the experience. And,
Before I read this, I considered myself to be a relatively honest person.

Now I know that I, alongside the global populace excluding T Kira Madden, am a deceitful horrible devilish liar.

This is the most honest book in the world.

With every passing day I grow closer to reading exclusively memoirs, and I have no regrets. What work of fiction can give me the story of Steve Madden’s niece, the at-first-illegitimate daughter of one of the closest allies of the Wolf of Wall Street, as she navigates drug
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
With such raw and emotive prose, reading this book felt like watching a series of bright, vivid movie scenes play one after another. T Kira Madden details her childhood in Boca Raton, Florida, a place of cult-like privilege and crime and extravagance and danger. She writes about her forced foray into independence as the daughter of parents who both dealt with substance addictions, how she faced objectification and formed intense friendships and reckoned with her queer, biracial identity. Long Li ...more
this book hit me right in the heart.

as madden weaves together events from her childhood (and adulthood), i cry and grimace and ache right along with her. a youth full of longing, and populated with father figures who can't give her what she needs. ouch.

her writing is beautiful, and the essays interconnect marvelously. sometimes something is briefly mentioned in one section, then hits like a gut punch when it's revisited with greater significance later on. absolutely wonderfully done. much admira
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Rachel by: Hannah
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls was a breath of fresh air.  If you isolate many of its thematic elements and you read a lot of this type of memoir, there's plenty of familiarity - coming of age, coming to terms with queerness, racial identity, sexual assault, trauma, drugs, love, family ties.  But T Kira Madden does something completely unique with it, revealing enough of her life to the reader in each chapter to keep us absorbed, yet employing a non-linear structure so faultlessly that ...more
I loved this - but it is also a memoir that needs the reader to trust the author. T Kira Madden's memoir is impeccably structured in a way that I highly appreciated by the end. She tells of her life in fragments, not always taking time to ground the reader, and some the chapters did not work for me - until the incredible last essay that reframes much of what came before and had me so in awe that I set staring at nothing after finishing the book. For me, the language alone would have been enough ...more
luce ❀ wishfully reading ❀ semi hiatus
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“I wanted to be the diametric opposite of who I was; am. To get gone.”

T Kira Madden’s bold and unsparing storytelling makes for a brutal yet ultimately kaleidoscopic coming of age. This is easily one of the best memoirs I’ve read this year. Madden’s memoir makes for a bittersweet read, one that I look forward to revisiting again.

“Did I want to die? Not really, no. I wanted the beauty of the doomed. Missing girls are never forgotten, I tho
may ➹
only on book 3 of 2022 and I’ve already found a favorite of the year :]

4.5 stars, short rtc
Valerity (Val)
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir

This was a quite gritty, but real memoir, written about a young girl growing up in Florida with a mother who was involved with someone else’s husband at first. They eventually got together and married, but it was not an auspicious beginning. The girl seems to grow up under a bit of a cloud, with a mannequin for a housemate and eventually dealing with both parents having sobriety issues. She has two step-brothers but they don’t really become close,
Jessica Sullivan
This memoir in essays is so incredibly powerful and heartbreaking. I’m in awe of Madden’s raw talent—this beautiful tribute to her complicated family and herself.

The first half of the book buzzes with late 90s and early 00s nostalgia as Madden recalls her middle school and high school years in Boca Raton, Florida. There’s the Juniper Breeze lotion and the Boys 2 Men playing at seventh grade dances and the harrowing ways that vulnerable teenage girls convince themselves that they own even the mos
Brittany | thebookishfiiasco
‘Focus, he says. Move it. Put the hurt somewhere else.’
memoirs have always been my favorite. there is something that feels so healing and honest to me about taking that leap and putting it all out there. it’s an authenticity and an experience i never want to take for granted. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by @tkmadden was no exception to this feeling, and is a memoir worthy of all your attention.
there was something so fascinating about this reading experience— like Madden has the abi
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“When I think of my father, I think of my heart breaking in stages. A dull pain, then piercing. Electric. Still, somehow, gradual.” T Kira Madden [bloomsburypublishing #partner]

last month I read and love T Kira Madden’s Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

This gem is nothing short of amazing — from the way it was written and constructed. The authors voice is very strong — it commands your attention with every detail. It embodies many things as well — parents whom are addicts, queer awakening
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
T Kira Madden lived a privileged life in Boca Raton, Florida thanks to the wealth made possible by a designer shoe.  

Underneath the happy image that included a big house, private schools, and horse trophies, Madden was on her own from a young age while her parents battled addictions and each other.  She searched for love and acceptance in destructive places, suffered objectification and ridicule, and faced racism regularly, all while remaining completely devoted to her parents.

Madden's memoir is
Robert Sheard
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm of two minds on this memoir. The prose style is engaging and first rate. Madden is a natural stylist. But in terms of content, I'm not a fan and I know that's weird because I don't mean to challenge or judge anyone's life experiences. But I'm over reading memoirs about rich people bemoaning their self-inflicted woes. At least 80% of this memoir is the story of rich people (her parents and her) doing incredibly stupid things. It centers in south Florida and focuses quite a bit on private scho ...more
Cassie (book__gal)
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is everything I search for in writing. Hopeful in spite of loss, redeeming without letting cruelty off the hook, and searching for truth. How do we love people when they continually disappoint us? When they fail us? Are there some people that are impossible to untangle ourselves from, like our parents, our families? Will we always love these people so much? These are questions that have always seemed unanswerable to me. Whether Madden meant to answer or not, I found some responses to ...more
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2021
Agh good grief this is raw and gutting and gorgeous. "Unflinching" is a pretty overused word for memoirs, but this one definitely feels that way, staring without blinking down overdoses, coerced teenage blowjobs, intense parental misconduct, the unfathomable cruelty of teenage girls, the tantalizing temptations of money, warped sexual bravado, desperate loneliness, burgeoning queer identity, the chasms of cultural misunderstandings, familial death, and more and more. It's a beautiful devastation ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
My review of this will be fairly short since I put it down for pandemic stress reasons and took far too long to get back to it so it's not fresh in my head. This is not the kind of memoir I usually read, it is filled with beautiful prose, it is not focused on a particular story or theme, the style can be extremely disjointed, jumping from one person and time to another. And yet, I really liked it. It may be a fancier memoir than I usually go for, but something about the way Madden connects with ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Madden writes strikingly about her childhood and young adulthood in a fragmented way that is quite powerful. She veers back and forth between present and past - mixing up the joy and trauma and confusion of her life and bringing the reader along with her.
Lindsay Hunter
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give 10 stars. I cried as it ended. A gorgeous and raw book.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A memoir in essays, a memoir in moments, a memoir of courage, a memoir of fearlessness. Writers of colour are redefining the genre and this sits perfectly next to Heavy by Kiese Laymon. I let Madden’s words and experiences wash over me and it was a singular and poignant experience. The structural complexity and layering here are stunningly crafted. Mind blown.
Hsinju Chen
This is not a book for everyone. See content warnings below.

Madden’s parents struggled with addiction since she was a child. She grew up in Boca Raton, FL, and had a twisted sense of love and sex as a tween and teen. This book is only suitable for mature audience, because it was not directly mentioned that some of her childhood values were wrong, that being the target of sex from older boys and men does not mean that you are beautiful or wanted or loved. It is for the readers to infer and unders
Inside My Library Mind
Sep 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
OKAY so here's my recipe for reading great books:

1. read brood by jackie polzin
2. make it your whole online personality
3. bully other people into reading it and making a group chat for it
4. do a secret santa styled book swap with said group chat
5. boom you get the perfect book

this was sad and honest and really well written and i loved it
Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honest, coming of age memoir full of stories of beauty and ugliness...needed tissues at the end. Full review to come on Book Nation by Jen. https://booknationbyjen.com ...more
chantel nouseforaname
This book cut me open.

#1 it's beautifully, poetically, artfully written. T Kira Madden, for a debut memoir - is a fantastic and marvelous writer. I was never bored, I was never thrown off her writing style. It was personal and you could really feel every emotion she went through and every situation she found herself in. Her use of alliteration to punctuate thoughts and her coming back to poignant moments by framing sections and scenes in her life around a few distinct and very particular descri
Meakin Armstrong
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is affecting — it’ll make you cry and laugh—but it’ll also teach you a thing or two. Men need to read this, most of all.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In her debut, a memoir, T Kira Madden relates a childhood full of loneliness and confusion but also so much love that it did not destroy her. Reading the book I was aware of it being carefully crafted with the most beautiful language she could create. Without self pity she revealed emotions that both fit her age as she grew while tinging them with the insights she gained from looking back as a grown woman.

I don't want to say more. I knew maybe too much from listening to her interview on the Ot
I love when this happens in the movies, on TV, in the books I read: a boy comes for a girl and then the father suddenly loves the girl more, steps up, becomes protective. No boys or men have ever desired a fatherless girl. I have always wanted this complication.

T Kira Madden pens a thoughtful collection of essays that is deeply moving and beautiful. She explores the father daughter dynamic in a very interesting way. I particularly loved how she explored the mother daughter relationship as well
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A raw, unflinching and honest memoir. This is so far removed from my childhood it is hard to imagine but T Kira Madden is such a natural storyteller, you are right there in the time and place.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
This is the story of a young woman who grows up in a household with neglectful parents who are too focused on their own addictions to parent. While this is not a commentary on Ms. Madden's life, I had problems with the presentation. I felt like a framework for the story was missing. I didn't feel the environment, as stated in the book summary, was illustrated as anything different than what many teens go through. Too many parts of Ms. Madden's life were just missing. I also struggled with a non- ...more
Dan White
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I teach personal essays and memoir classes (and I've written a couple of them) and I find myself going back to this book again and again. The first time I read a book, I just let myself get swept away by the story and the language. Then I revisit the book and try to pinpoint the reasons why it has such a hold on me. In this case, it's the use of the present tense, pretty consistently throughout the memoir. That's an unusual creative choice because the present tense can really hamstring you. You ...more
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