Raych’s CBR-III Read #41 – Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

This is smart and sharp and funny and hard.  You want to tell people it’s SOOOER GREAT and then they’re all What is it about?  And you have to be like, A little girl whose dad is too young to be a Proper Dad and who ends up in foster care and then juvie and then doing drugs and turning tricks and it sounds like a miserable book but for the most part the misery is implied.


Because Baby (given name) doesn’t start out that way, she starts out as a nine-year-old hanging out with her twenty-four-year-old dad and they have antics and it is heart-warming and well-intentioned.  And Baby is such a little girl, she is such a child, all distracted by how pretty the flowers are, and able to entertain herself by skating on an old sheet of plastic and she never loses that tone and that blinds you to how sour things are slowly going.

And there are hellotta similies.  Ok?  But not all Look How Clever I Am With My Words (see: Picoult, Jodi; Coupland, Douglas).  They are the APTEST (most apt?) similes and do what similes do, i.e. make you feel a thing by telling you about another thing that is like that thing.  However, as someone who rails against See How Clever on a regular basis, I feel that I can’t in good conscience recommend this unless you can stomach (and perhaps even delight in) something in the realm of: ‘Sadness fit me like blue jeans.  Sadness fit me like a hangman’s noose.  It crawled on me like an electric blanket and it was hard to resist its warmth.’  And out of context I know that sounds exorbitant but it is SO GERMANE, this narrative voice, this hardened little girl trying to tell you how it’s like.

Unexpectedly fun, simultaneously sucking out my heart.


Cautionary Whale for child abuse. 

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