review Lullabies for Little Criminals 103

characters Lullabies for Little Criminals

review Lullabies for Little Criminals 103 ¸ A gritty heart wrenching novel about bruised innocence on the city's feral streets—the remarkable debut of a stunning literary talentHeather O'Neill dazzles with a first novel of extraordinary prescience and power a subtly understated yet searingly effective story of a young life on the streets—and theEn childhood comforts and adult temptation still young enough to drag her dolls around in a vinyl suitcase yet old enough to know than she should about urban cruelties Motherless she lives with her father Jules who takes better care of his heroin habit than he does of his daughter Baby's gift is a genius for spinning stories and for cherishing the small crumbs of happiness that f. If you want to get a child to love you then you should just go hide in the closet for three or four hours They get down on their knees and pray for you to return That child will turn you into God Lonely children probably wrote the BibleWe forget as we get older how vulnerable it feels to be a child To not be in charge Not responsible for where you live what you eat or where your money comes from In fact we tend to idealize those days thinking wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back to the worry free existence of a child We forget that children have worries too especially if they don’t have responsible adults in their livesThis book also reminded me of lessons learned when I was old enough to go stay at friends’ houses whatever you have grown up with is normal for you Doesn’t matter how chaotic your own home is you don’t realize it until you have a calmer home to compare it to or vice versa Your family’s regular foods will seem odd to others your mom’s way of slicing a sandwich may even seem idiosyncratic to some The “normal” routine may seem very exotic to those children who have no routine to speak of I was distinctly reminded of the memoir by Jeannette Walls The Glass Castle where she and her siblings just accepted the way life was with their alcoholic father and dysfunctional mother They learned early to take care of themselves because their parents weren’t going to do it And let’s face it every family has their own dysfunctions—no matter how stable there’s some weird thing that every family does that make it “unhappy in its own way” Thanks TolstoyMany lovely turns of phrase lots of laugh out loud moments plus that last sentence lifted my spirits with hope

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All into her lap But her blossoming beauty has captured the attention of a charismatic and dangerous local pimp who runs an army of sad slavishly devoted girls a volatile situation even the normally oblivious Jules cannot ignore And when an escape disguised as betrayal threatens to crush Baby's spirit she will ultimately realize that the power of salvation rests in her hands alon. uick ReviewFor some reason I just couldn't get into this book It is well known and made by a Canadian author which are the people I love promoting Yay us Go Canada but it just wasn't my thing and I can easily admit that I would highly recommend picking up this book for the amazing writing style alone let alone how great it reads The story itself just wasn't for me

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Lullabies for Little CriminalsA gritty heart wrenching novel about bruised innocence on the city's feral streets the remarkable debut of a stunning literary talentHeather O'Neill dazzles with a first novel of extraordinary prescience and power a subtly understated yet searingly effective story of a young life on the streets and the strength wits and luck necessary for survivalAt thirteen Baby vacillates betwe. Second Review January 26 2016Wow did I ever write concise reviews in 2008In that spirit I don’t have much to add after this second reading I’m teaching this to my Grade 12 English class of adult Aboriginal learners We spend a lot of time reading texts byabout Indigenous people and issues such as Indian Horse I wanted to expose them to a slice of Canadian identity Francophone culture they haven’t encountered before In doing so we can compare that experience to the experience of Indigenous identities and we can talk about stereotypes As many of my students have experience with the issues in this book it also helps them identify with the characters’ struggles I’m pleased with how hooked they are on the book We haven’t finished reading it in class yetWhat did I pay attention to this time Baby’s yearning for a mother figure feels much pronouncedI also appreciate how even though O’Neill writes Baby’s narration with a precocious vocabulary she makes it clear that Baby’s emotional maturity is far behind her intellectual maturity Baby is an academically advanced person but she can still be as petulant and childish as any twelve year oldWhereas in my first reading I was captivated by the characters this time I also paid attention to the way the system fails both Baby and Jules In the past seven years I’ve come to understand how systemic problems and lack of privilege affect individuals and manoeuvre them into situations that give them few good options That is very much the case here as we see when Baby goes to a correctional facility for little than having the temerity to experiment with drugs and have a negligent parentOnce again the juxtaposition between Baby’s relationship with Alphonse and her budding attraction to Xavier broke my heart I wanted to cry as her facade of normalcy shattered around her and Xavier learned who she was Lullabies for Little Criminals reminds us over and over of how we judge and are judged by others and how these judgements influence usDefinitely a powerful novel one which is not diminished on subseuent readingsFirst Review July 30 2008About two hundred pages into the book I suddenly realized that this story was breaking my heartIt's sneaky You don't know you're getting attached to Baby the main character until it's too late You don't realize you're emotionally invested in her that you want to see her make the right decisions that lift her out of the morally ambiguous streets and propel her to a successful happy life So when events push her into doing the opposite it's terribleThe theme that resonates with me most is that childhood is the most precious innocence we have Baby makes several philosophical remarks about childhood how society encourages us to grow up too fast and the fact that we can't go back afterward We're stuck as adults As an 18 year old I've reached the legal age for adulthood I'm venturing into that scary world of responsibility; no one treats me as a child any I have the advantage of never experiencing Baby's hardships yet I still feel confused at times Everyone probably does which is why this book captures your heartBaby has no mother and her father is not much of a father figure She is a person of remarkable natural integrity and morals nonetheless but as the book progresses these morals get twisted further and further out of focus as she tries to deal with growing up while her father slips further away from reality She goes through several phases of friendship attempting to fit in at school hanging out with other kids at a community centre hanging out with a dangerous social misfit than her her first boyfriend and being seduced by a pimpIt was the contrast of those last two relationships that broke my heart Baby fast approaching the nadir of her pre adolescent life succumbs to the advances of the neighbourhood pimp You think Okay this can't get any worse Yeah she's with a pimp but she'll get out of it She'll find a way out Then she meets a boy her age and falls for him and suddenly it is that much worse Baby is torn between two worlds two different lifestyles She tries to push each away in turn but both stick to her and try to claim herThe ending is open It does not neatly wrap up Baby's life in an epilogue tell us that she went on to live happily ever after If it had that would cheat the book of its significance I won't spoil it but I will say it is positiveTrying to do the right thing is hard enough when you know what the right thing is When you don't even know that and you're a thirteen year old girl without the advice of a parent to guide her life is much much harder