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Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce…

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang (1993)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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910129,662 (3.72)23
  1. 10
    Pretty little dirty : a novel by Amanda Boyden (citygirl)
    citygirl: The violent side of suburban teenaged girls.

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What do you do if you're a poor girl from a broken home in small town America? Foxfire are a kick ass girl gang from the 1950s - wreaking revenge on the petty perves and sleazy men - until the inevitable come down cold turkey. Written up as a diary, Maddy's recollections of a time of transgression, when a bunch of marginal reject girls somehow managed to take some control, are powerful and intriguing
  otterley | Apr 2, 2014 |
They are poor, living in the wrong side of town, mostly from broken homes. But most of all they are girls, constantly objectified by men – from the groping and yells of the boys their own age to the scary sexuality of the adults. But gathering around the charismatic, unpredictable Legs, five girls form a gang. Not just a group or a club – a Gang, just like the ones the working class guys have. And after Foxfire is formed, there is no stopping them. They are about the get their revenge, on the whole world.

Several people drew parallels between this book and a play I wrote this spring, which made me curious to read it. I find JCO is very much a hit and miss writer for me (the Blondes are few and far between!), so I didn’t really know what to expect. But this high paced YA book was very much a hit, and the comparison to my play is flattering indeed.

Not really plot-driven, OR character driven, this book is instead thrust forward by a form of restless anger. The episodes told seem almost random, gaps are left, ideas flare up and pass. But the picture painted of a small town in America in the fifties, with any amount of dirt hiding just under the surface, and the girls who suddenly refuse to waddle in that dirt, is a punch in the guts of a book, engrossing, fast, intoxicating.

The ending is over the top, perhaps, and rather unlikely, but in it’s context it works. I’m with Legs, Monkey, Boom-Boom and the rest of them to the very end, and am sorry to let go. ( )
  GingerbreadMan | Jul 21, 2013 |
There's a lot about "Foxfire" that'll be pretty familiar to Joyce Carol Oates fans. It's set in upstate New York in the fifties, and it explores the social and personal tensions that simmered under that decade's sunny surface. Oates's prose, which is sometimes too careful and fussily crafted for my taste, is freer and more sensual here, capturing both the wildness of her protagonists' youth and the sexual tensions they seem to feel but can't articulate. "Foxfire" will doubtlessly seem sort of quaint to some readers: it features greasers and big cars and gang activity that, while shocking enough in context, isn't half as frightening as what would follow two or three decades later. Still, even as she writes from the vantage point of the mid-nineties, Oates skilfully keeps "Foxfire" from devolving into period kitsch. Her characters, who don't hesitate to share their rawest emotions with each other, feel genuinely scared and adrift, and Oates emphasizes the tenuousness of their survival and the difficulty of the choices they face. A lot of political parallels can probably be drawn to what might be described as an experiment in all-female communal living and social revolution, and Oates's portrayal of their troubled lives does, in a sense, have a more pointedly political edge than I would have expected from her. To analyze it from a political standpoint with the benefit of hindsight would miss, I think, what "Foxfire" accomplishes. A frame tale co-written by one of the gang's former members, it is, like many of Joyce Carol Oates's novels, a wonderful example of how even fictional narratives can make too-familiar history seem vital and alive. The author, to her credit, writes like someone who considers the preservation of her characters' memories to be her highest calling. Recommended. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Jun 30, 2011 |
Currently reading
  margitc | Feb 1, 2011 |
Excellent illustration of why a gang is formed and how it stays together. Long, long sentences. ( )
  mamzel | Sep 3, 2009 |
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Legs Sadovsky leads a girl gang called Foxfire during 1955 in her upstate New York hometown.

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