GIRLCHILD BY TUPELO HASSMAN
QUERCUS (PAPERBACK), 2012
THIS BOOK IS PART OF MY POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2015 (HTTP://WWW.POPSUGAR.COM/LOVE/READING-CHALLENGE-2015-36071458). THE CATEGORY FOR THIS BOOK IS ‘A BOOK BASED ENTIRELY ON ITS FRONT COVER’.
I CHOSE TO READ GIRLCHILD BASED ENTIRELY ON THE COVER OF THE HARDBACK EDITION.
I BORROWED THE PAPERBACK EDITION FROM THE LIBRAY BUT THE HARDBACK COVER IS WHY I CHOSE TO READ GIRLCHILD FOR THIS CATEGORY. IT LOOKED THE PERFECT BOOK TO GET LOST IN. I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE BOOK WHEN I CHOSE TO READ IT.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
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 (Disposal of Outgrown Uniforms; The Right Use of Your Body; Finding Your Way When Lost) for tips to get off the Calle: that is, Calle de los 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 she is “third generation in a line of apparent imbeciles, feeble-minded 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 worker’s reports, half-recalled memories, story problems, arrest records, family lore, Supreme Court opinions, and her grandmother’s letters, Rory crafts a devastating collage that shows us her world while she searches for the way out of it. Girlchild is a heart-stopping and original debut.
In my life of still dreaming the trailer park, I walk through all of its streets. They are short streets, it is a short life. It is nighttime, the moon shines through the yellow streetlights onto dirt and cement and gravel and every pool of light and every shadow is all my own. There is no sound in the whole park except the sound of my voice, loud like a vandal, like a baseball bat, bouncing from corrugated wall to corrugated wall, yelling back at me from empty carports and half-open sheds, so confident, crazy and strong, I can’t be sure if it is my own or my Mama’s, if it is my own or Grandma’s bones, full of both threat and promise, walking along the Calle and waking it with these words, one word for each step: I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven.
This was my first time reading Tupelo Hassman. Girlchild is her debut novel.
I really enjoyed Girlchild. Hassman’s novel is written in the format of Rory’s diary. The chapters don’t have dates or any sort of formal diary structure I just get this impression from the language and point of view used in Girlchild. Rory’s life was very different from my experiences of growing up. She lives in a trailer and is dirt poor. I found her experiences to be very eye-opening and shocking at times. I loved the narrative voice used in Girlchild. Terrible things happen to Rory including being sexually abused and her mother being hit by a truck and killed when Rory’s only 15. Rory still remains optimistic and determined not to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her mother gave birth to her first child when she was Rory’s age. I loved Rory as a character. She was strong and fierce and resilient. Girlchild is a great novel about growing up and overcoming adversity.