Sunday, June 10, 2007

39. "Lullabies for Little Criminals" - Heather O'Neill

Baby lives with her heroin-addict father in squalid flat after flat. Her hunger for love becomes so strong that even the slaps of the street's pimp is desired.

From age 12 to 14, Baby's life on and off the streets is chronicled in this first novel by O'Neill, a bit autobiographical and a lot of pathos. The strength of her descriptions and ability to tell a story without an ounce of "woe-is-me" is endearing.

While the story isn't new, the way that it is told makes this a worthwhile read. Instead of one simile, O'Neill uses three. Toward the end of the book, this became a nuisance, the proverbial guest who stayed too long. But this description of reading may be one of my most favorite passages:

When I opened a book now, I was seized with desperation. I felt as if I was madly in love. It was as if I were in a confession booth and the characters of the book were on the other side telling me their most intimate secrets. When I read, I was a philosopher and it was up to me to figure out the meanings of things. Reading made me feel like I was the center of the universe.

3.8 out of 5.0 Baby's Bottoms.

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