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Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
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Girlchild

by Tupelo Hassman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4163837,789 (3.75)13
  1. 11
    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (booklove2)
  2. 01
    Disappearing Home by Deborah Morgan (foolplustime)
    foolplustime: Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill is a slightly too obvious recommendation given that Ms O'Neill blurbs Girlchild, so here is another book in the same vein. It's set in Liverpool (that's in the UK - don't say I never teach you anything) and it's very good indeed.… (more)
  3. 01
    We the Animals by Justin Torres (circumspice)
    circumspice: Another difficult coming of age novel about poverty and family dysfunction told in short, searing chapters.
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman was a difficult read as it is a coming of age story that deals with both sexual abuse and family dysfunction. Rory Dawn Hendrix is growing up in the Calle de Las Flores trailer park on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada where the inhabitants barely make ends meet and the police are regular visitors.

Rory’s single mother is a hard drinking bartender at the Truck Stop. While at work Rory is entrusted to teenage babysitter Carol. It soon becomes obvious that Carol’s father has been molesting Carol and has now turned his attentions onto Rory. When his abuse is discovered, he spirits himself and his daughter away while Rory is left to recover as best as she can. Rory takes her inspiration from a battered copy of “The Girl Guides Handbook” and pretty much raises herself. Although Rory scores amazingly well on IQ tests and is an excellent student, she struggles with both low self-esteem and, at times, self-loathing.

Girlchild unfolds through diary entries, social worker’s reports, memories, story problems, arrest records and family tales. Although the subject matter is grim, the author adds plenty of dark humor to tell this heartbreaking story of one young American have-not. I found this book to be a powerful and original read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 20, 2019 |
I was attracted to this book by it's cover; remember the old library cards, you could see who had read the book before you....I loved that. This is a first novel by a writer with a distinct voice. The book reads partly as a novel, partly as a scrapbook. Some may find this disjointed or jarring, I found the interspersed math problems, letters and reports allowed me to understand the characters and their circumstances even more. The writing is poetic and brutal, I found myself rereading paragraphs to absorb their beauty.

"Reno is just like Tahoe, only without anything beautiful, Tahoe but without the fresh air and fir trees, without fathers and sons out for their first fishing trip. Tiptoe up behind Tahoe and put a hand over it's mouth. Bear down slowly until it doesn't fight the developers pawing it's land. That's Reno."

This is not a happy, or even a hopeful book, but as a reader I was able to admire the multi-dimensional characters even as they failed each other. I read this book as slowly as possible, savouring the writing, knowing I would miss the characters once I was done. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
This is why I love reading so much; this book is like nothing I've ever read before and it took me to a place I've never been.

"My name is Rory Dawn Hendrix, feebleminded daughter of a feebleminded daughter, herself the product of feebleminded stock. Welcome to the Calle."

Rory Dawn comes from a liniage of bad news - both her mother and grandmother were teenage moms, sexually abused, alocholics, gamblers, smokers, and most importanly they have been stuck in Calle de las Flores - the trailer park. While it is clear that history seems to repeat itself, Rory's Grandma instills these expecations into Rory - "Someone’s got to make it and it has to be you.” Does she?

The writing style of Tupelo Hassman is unique - maybe not for everyone - very short chapters (sometimes in the form of a letter or social worker's report) at times poor grammar and very choppy. However in the end, it creates such a tragic, beautiful and original story. I loved it from the beginning. ( )
  mandarella | May 21, 2018 |
Amazing story, incredible writing. I actually almost didn't finish it because I got a little bummed out. I have to admit I'm tired of reading about poor people and how sexual abuse and alcoholism seem to run rampant in their lives. However, this is a case of where good writing trumps a so-so story :-) Loved it. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
4.5 stars - I enjoyed this book primarily for its uniqueness. It is written in a very different style; while there is a main character (Rory), who is also the narrator, the bulk of the book is stream of consciousness musings from Rory. Some of the subject matter is uncomfortable, but the book was honest throughout and the quirkiness of it appealed to me. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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On my honor, I will try: / To do my duty to God and my country, / To help other people at all times, / To obey the Girl Scout Laws. -- the Girl Scout Promise
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for my cuz
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Mama always hid her mouth when she laughed.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374162573, Hardcover)

Rory Hendrix is the least likely of Girl Scouts. She hasn’t got a troop or even a badge to call her own. But she’s checked the Handbook out from the elementary school library so many times that her name fills all the lines on the card, and she pores over its surreal advice (Uniforms, disposing of outgrown; The Right Use of Your Body; Finding Your Way When Lost) for tips to get off the Calle: that is, the Calle de las Flores, the Reno trailer park where she lives with her mother, Jo, the sweet-faced, hard-luck bartender at the Truck Stop.

Rory’s been told that she is one of the “third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom.” But she’s determined to prove the county and her own family wrong. Brash, sassy, vulnerable, wise, and terrified, she struggles with her mother’s habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good. From diary entries, social workers’ reports, half-recalled memories, arrest records, family lore, Supreme Court opinions, and her grandmother’s letters, Rory crafts a devastating collage that shows us her world even as she searches for the way out of it.

Tupelo Hassman’s Girlchild is a heart-stopping and original debut.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:07 -0400)

Obsessively following the edicts of the Girl Scouts Handbook in spite of her lack of a troop, young Rory longs to escape the Reno trailer park where she lives with her bartender mother.

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