Lullabies for Little Criminals
A NovelBook - 2006
Heather O'Neill's critically acclaimed debut novel, with a new introduction from the author to celebrate its ten-year anniversary
Baby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world. Her mother is dead; her father, Jules, is scarcely more than a child himself and is always on the lookout for his next score. Baby knows that "chocolate milk" is Jules' slang for heroin and sees a lot more of that in her house than the real thing. But she takes vivid delight in the scrappy bits of happiness and beauty that find their way to her, and moves through the threat of the streets as if she's been choreographed in a dance.
Soon, though, a hazard emerges that is bigger than even her hard-won survival skills can handle. Alphonse, the local pimp, has his eye on her for his new girl--and what the johns don't take he covets for himself. If Baby cannot learn to become her own salvation, his dark world threatens to claim her, body and soul.
Channeling the artlessly affecting voice of her thirteen-year-old heroine with extraordinary accuracy and power, Heather O'Neill's debut novel blew readers away when it was first published ten years ago. Now it's sure to capture its next decade of readers as Baby picks her pathway along the edge of the abyss to arrive at a place of redemption, and of love.
Featuring a new introduction from the author
CBC Canada reads winner, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction winner, Orange Prize for Fiction finalist, Governor General's Literary Award finalist, International Impac Dublin Literary Award finalist
Praise for Lullabies for Little Criminals
"A vivid portrait of life on skid row."--People
"A nuanced, endearing coming-of-age novel you won't want to miss."--Quill And Quire
"Vivid and poignant. . . . A deeply moving and troubling novel."--The Independent (London)
"O'Neill is a tragicomedienne par excellence. . . . You will not want to miss this tender depiction of some very mean streets."--Montreal Review of Books
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Suddenly I realized that I wanted everything to be as it was when I was younger. When you're young enough, you don't know that you live in a cheap lousy apartment. A cracked chair is nothing other than a chair. A dandelion growing out of a crack in the sidewalk outside your front door is a garden. You could believe that a song your parent was singing in the evening was the most tragic opera in the world. It never occurs to you when you are very young to need something other than what your parents have to offer you.
No matter how scuzzy and crazy their parents are, kids still try to make them feel good about themselves.
I don't know why I was upset about not being an adult. It was right around the corner. Becoming a child again is what is impossible. That's what you have legitimate reason to be upset over. Childhood is the most valuable thing that's take away from you in life, if you think about it.
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