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St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  11,022 ratings  ·  1,688 reviews
In these ten glittering short stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here, wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns; a family makes its living wrestling alligators in a theme park; and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published June 6th 2005)
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Margaret I think they have mixed emotions - some of them are desperately trying to adapt, and some like the little Mirabelle, will never adapt. What a great st…moreI think they have mixed emotions - some of them are desperately trying to adapt, and some like the little Mirabelle, will never adapt. What a great story though. (less)
Melissa Hogan It is stage one. They are standing back, letting them behave like young pups, to get accustomed to their surroundings. It is rather ominous, however, …moreIt is stage one. They are standing back, letting them behave like young pups, to get accustomed to their surroundings. It is rather ominous, however, in all that is supposed to be "new, exciting and interesting" that they are creating lassos and carrying tranqulizer guns. The irony is unmistakable and those who remember nuns from Catholic schools--it will stir up old memories of awful women who punished hard. The kids today see the irony/fear in the situation for any of us facing a new surrounding. Keep reading--a great satire and commentary about kids' cruelty and Catholicism and society's efforts to 100% eradicate all that is wild and free within us.(less)

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karen
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hey-shorty
first of all - greg- i lied to you. i told you that the conch shell story (the city of shells) was my favorite because i felt put on the spot and distracted, and that was the first one i thought of. but my real favorite story is the one on the boated retirement community (out to sea). god - i felt that one in my desiccated old heart-sac.

i really enjoyed this collection. the stories all contain wavery bits of the surreal - her style reminds me more of kelly link than george saunders, which compar
...more
Nancy

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is an unusual collection of imaginative, quirky, moving, unsettling, and stylishly written stories featuring troubled children as they learn, grow, and make their way in the world. Their parents are flawed and dealing with their own issues as well, like the minotaur who moves his human family out west for a fresh start. While I enjoyed the majority of stories in this collection, I found they suffered from sameness and repetition
...more
sarah
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I just can't read this anymore. There were two stories left, but I had to put it down.

Individually, the stories in this volume are highly creative, heartbreaking and imaginative, but taken as a volume, the sheer similarities between all of the tales made me want to pull my hair out. Russell is obviously very talented, but I'd love to read something that isn't told from an overly precocious child's point of view, that doesn't end in medias res, and that doesn't involve strangely allego
...more
Greg
This collection of short stories was quite good.

I'm awful at writing reviews for short story collections, mostly because I'm too lazy or forgetful to jot down notes about the individual stories when I finish them, so the entire collection sort of becomes jumbled up in my head. These kind of fall into the George Saunders like style of writing, weird slightly off-kilter distortions of the real world, but unlike some of the George Saunders-esque writers out there is never the feeling that Karen Ru
...more
Madeline
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I am very, very jealous of Karen Russell. She got to study creative writing at Columbia, she made New York Magazine list of twenty-five people to watch under the age of twenty six (and she was twenty-five when this book was published), and she also happens to be really, really talented. I bet she's really cool and her apartment is awesome and she has lots of great shoes.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (can I get that on a tshirt or something?) is a collection of short stories that mo
...more
Kim
Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
These stories are wonderfully creative, beautifully written, and make me very jealous of Karen Russell in general. So why the low rating? Because almost every single one of the stories ended too soon! I don't mean "ended sooner than I would have liked, and I'm sad that I can't stay with it longer" - well, that's actually true as well. But I mean "ended right as things were getting interesting, leaving everything not just unresolved but in fact disappointing and bewildering, since there was no re ...more
Maciek
A pack of feral half-wolf girls raised by nuns in a foster home, a brother diving to find his little sister in a haunted cave, a family of minotaurs moving westward, two young girls living and growing up among alligators at an amusement park - all this and more awaits you in Karen Russell's debut collection of stories, published when she was just 25.

I have a bit of a crush on Karen Russell. Her stories are great - she has the rare combination of both imagination and talent, allowing her to creat
...more
Oriana
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason this isn't a 5-star is that I hate short stories. Sorry, but I do. It just doesn't make sense to me -- either they're little bits of fluff that are quickly forgotten, or they're involved and interesting, and there is no reason for them to end.

The stories in this book are an example of the latter case. These stories are terrific! Karen Russel has an incredible command of language (she uses the word 'limn' in almost every story), and a fascinating imagination. The stories are haun
...more
Lotte
3.5/5. My favourite stories were: Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, Haunting Olivia & St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. ...more
Sarah
Sep 27, 2010 rated it liked it
First of all, Karen Russell wins the award for best story titles, hands down: Ava Wrestles the Alligator, ZZ's Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, the title story, etc. The prose crackles. Several of the stories take place on a very strange and well-imagined island full of Bizarroland tourist attractions, perhaps off of Florida. She skims the waters of magic realism with the tips of her wings; the titles and the stories are packed with dream imagery. All of which is stuff I love.

Why, then,
...more
Stephen M
“The City of Shells closed to the visiting public over an hour ago. Now the boardwalk is deserted. Silent, except for the medleyed roar of the waves and the distant rumble of thunder. Gray, rain-bellied clouds are rolling in. Farther out, the sea is sluicing into night. There’s a hushed, tingly feeling in the air, as if the whole world is holding its breath. Only the silvery gulls dot the horizon. They peck at used condoms and empty Dorito bags with a salt-preened serenity.”

There are some author
...more
Juliet
Apr 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I can't rate this more than 3 stars - I expected to like it far more from the blurbs, but although the language is clever, the settings evocative and the ideas original, there was a lack of warmth in the writing. I found these pieces more like fragments from longer works than true short stories. In particular, the lack of resolution at the end of most of the stories left me dissatisfied. I felt storytelling took second place to literary cleverness. But try this collection for yourself - my respo ...more
Julie Ehlers
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Kathy Rutz
Someone recommended this to me a few years back, and I bought it soon thereafter at Borders, with a gift card I'd somehow acquired. I didn't bother to find out anything about the book before I bought it; if I had known it was a book of quirky, fantastical short stories told almost entirely from the point of view of children, I frankly would have stayed far away—that's like a definitive list of things I usually try to avoid in fiction. But Karen Russell has been getting a lot of attention lately, ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Unique stories with unabashed cuteness and quirky characters. I can think of a lot of people who would love these!

My favorite stories were Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, Accident Brief, and the title story.

"My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather."

"Sister Josephine tasted like sweat and freckles. She smelled easy to kill."
Amy | littledevonnook
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
A wonderful collection of short stories!

The ten short stories in this book are beautifully crafted, I thoroughly enjoyed the magical realism elements of the tales and found myself completely swept away!

We are told of wolf-girls, star-gazing and alligator wrestling - this book holds a story to grab anyone's imagination, I would recommend to all.
Trin
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Confession time: I think Kelly Link’s and Aimee Bender’s short stories are only okay. Occasionally one of their tales will astound me, but mostly I’m a bit “meh” on them—especially compared to how much many readers I respect love them. (Personally, I prefer Stacey Richter.) So when I say that Karen Russell’s short stories read like Link or Bender rejects, I hope you can see how faint an endorsement that is coming from me. Most of the stories in this collection feature young first person narrator ...more
Devann
"Any place, then, can become a cemetery. All it takes is your body."

actual rating: 2.5

I did not like most of the stories in here, but that is about the rawest quote ever. Anyway, really the only stories that I liked were the first one [that unfortunately tricked me into committing to the whole collection] and then the last one [which is the title story]. Both of those were easily 4 star stories but all the others were 2 stars and kind of all over the place. Also I know that the title is just tak
...more
Rebecca McNutt
I had to read St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves for my English Lit. class. It's such an imaginative and intelligent book, with fantasy stories addressing important issues beneath the creativity and magic.
Brandy
On its own, each story in this collection is a treasure, in which children have minotaurs for fathers or hunt for the ghosts of siblings washed to sea in giant clamshell sleds. Russell's distinct voice shines through each piece, and coming across one of these in the magazines where they first appeared would be a genuine treat.

Unfortunately, the stories are weakened by being strung together. Russell writes in a distinct voice, but nearly every story is written in that same voice. Each story ends
...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Karen Russell's short story collection St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves surprised me on so many levels!  Each story is quirky, intelligent, and narrated by an oddball characters (mostly precocious kids) in a bizarre situation.  I also love that all the stories take place in the same town in the Florida Everglades, allowing brief crossovers with mentions of places and peoples from other stories.

These ten stories are charming and unusual.
My favorites were Ava Wrestles the Alligator (a y
...more
Kaitlin
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the third short story collection I have read now and the first one which is by Karen Russell. I would have to say that each of the collections I've read so far have been very vastly different, and this one is probably the most magical realism in tone and imaginative, which sometimes awed me and occasionally lost me.

There are 10 stories within this collection and of the 10 I gave 2 of them 5*s, 6 of them 4*s and 2 of them 3*s. I think that averages out o a 4* overall and I am happy t
...more
Wigs
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Reading these short stories is like failed masturbation.

No, really.

You start, and things are going well, and you feel pretty good. But suddenly it’s over and there wasn’t even any climax and you just sit there unsatisfied.

And it happens every single time. It seems like her formula, each short story is unfinished and each time it gets a little more annoying because you know that’s what’s going to happen. The one exception is the final story, which happens to be the title of the book, and I very
...more
Vanessa
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars.

This was my BookTube recommends pick from Jen Campbell - thanks Jen for suggesting this collection!

This was my first experience of Karen Russell's writing, having seen countless rave reviews on YouTube. Many booktubers that I know and love are massive fans of Russell, and I was eager to pick up this collection when it was recommended to me. Russell writes magical realism short stories, which I am not as familiar with because with short stories I usually lean towards contemporary collec
...more
Vanessa
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, short-stories
Before I even looked, I knew the precocious young author of this collection (she was 25 when it was published) had an MFA. She has a unique voice and gift for stringing lovely chains of words together there's no doubt, but just about every story in here suffers from Raymond Carver Syndrome. They all come clanking to a sudden, sometimes bewildering halt.

Look, I like Raymond Carver; "A Small Good Thing" is one of my favorite short stories of all time. But now it seems like every matriculated shor
...more
Amanda
These stories were compulsively readable, but only one or two of them ended satisfactorily for me. I felt like there was no resolution to the stories, they ended a page or two too early in the middle of a paragraph. I liked Russell's writing style, but her stories all shared similar themes, characters and structures. I'm interested in what she comes out with next, though I'm not sure I get on with her stories all that well. My favorite stories in the collection were "Haunting Olivia" and "Out to ...more
Graham Wilhauk
NEW REVIEW AFTER 2019 REREAD:

What happened? Granted this was the Karen Russell book I remembered liking the least, but I still remembered LIKING the collection as a whole. Even though the first two stories are REALLY good, the others range from kind of ok to absolute TRASH. This only makes me worried when I do a reread of "Swamplandia!" this year. These stories felt VERY amateur compared to the ones in "Vampires In the Lemon Grove." They end abruptly, they focus WAY too much on the fantastical a
...more
Kirsty
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: april-2017
I read and enjoyed Russell's second short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, so it seemed rather obvious that at some point I would read her first, St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. It is a very odd collection; sometimes the magical realism was jarring, and I did not feel as though it tied together that well as a whole. A lot of the stories ended quite abruptly, and did not really live up to expectation. The narrative voices, almost all of annoying and precocious children, u ...more
Dov Zeller
There are a lot of beautiful and sparkling moments, but they don't add up to something emotionally or narratively satisfying. As soon as I knew what she was up to in a story there were no surprises and often no deepening into meaning greater than what is offered in the initial concept. I had to bring the book back to the library or would say a bit more and post some passages.
Troy Blackford
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
First off, I still really did enjoy this book. But there were some issues with it, and I think the amount of acclaim Karen Russell has received so far makes people nervous to voice them. This is a very evocative, imaginative, colorful, poetic book. I did enjoy it. But many times I wanted to stop reading in frustration.

Almost all of these stories are about kids whose parents run some kind of impossible themed attraction. Or have some kind of insane parents. Almost all of them end in what seems l
...more
David
I'm about half-way through this collection of stories and so far they are hilarious. As offbeat as the title suggests, but very funny.

(added after finishing the book): Well, oddly enough, offbeat kind of wears thin after a while. So that, in the end, I give this collection only 3 stars. The cumulative effect of reading all these stories in a single week is a bit like being trapped in the funhouse - you emerge slightly dazed, and relieved to be back in normal territory. Although these stories wer
...more
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Karen Russell graduated from Columbia University's MFA program in 2006. Her stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, Conjunctions, Granta, The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Zoetrope. Her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was published in September 2006. In November 2009, she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree. I ...more

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