26 February 2013

Today's Imprint Read: Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

What would it be like to grow up in a dirt-poor community of rusted-out trailers in the middle of the desert, never feeling safe? Rory Hendrix knows that world all too well, even though she's still just a little girl.

My mama always hid her mouth when she laughed. Even when she spoke too gleefully, mouth stretched too wide by those happy muscles, teeth too visible. I can still recognize someone from my neighborhood by their teeth. Or lack of them. And whenever I do, I call those people family. I know immediately that I can trust them with my dog but not with the car keys and not to remember what time, exactly, they're coming back for their kids. I know if we get into a fight and Johnny shows up we'll agree that there has been "No problem, Officer, we'll keep it down."

I know what they hide when they hide those teeth.
Girlchild by Tupel Hassman (Macmillan / Picador, 2013, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: the Calle des Flores, outside of Reno; the 1960s
  • Circumstances: Rory lives with her mother but must fend for herself; she is smart but is beaten down by abuse and poverty; she wants out but is distrustful of the system
  • Characters: Rory; Jo, her mother; Hardware Man, the evil neighbor; various people from the Calle and school
  • Style: written in short pieces: diary entries, Girl Scout Handbook, case worker files, school word problems
  • Genre: literary, coming of age
  • Difficult themes: child abuse, poverty
  • Miscellaneous: just out in paperback this month; winner of several awards, including the 2013 Alex Award and the 2012 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

What to Know More?

Learn about Tupelo Hassman by visiting her her website, her Tumblr site, and her Facebook page. She's been interviewed a number of times, including by The Rumpus, Litseen, and The Kenyon Review. For an overview of the novel, watch this short video, which includes a brief reading from the book.

Picador USA is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, visit the Picador's website. While there, take a look at the Picador book club and reading guides and sign up for their newsletters. For up-to-date news, don't miss their Tumblr site or Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

Buy Girlchild at an indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
ISBN-13: 9781250024060

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 2/26/13, 6:25 AM  

This sounds really good. But I don't think I've ever been disappointed by a Picador book!

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/26/13, 6:42 AM  

Oh, I can already feel myself being drawn into that world! Thanks for sharing...and here's MY TUESDAY MEMES POST

SJ 2/26/13, 7:52 AM  

Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

My Teaser

Harvee 2/26/13, 8:42 AM  

The setting has me intrigued, as well as the child's views of her community.

Melissa O. 2/26/13, 9:09 AM  

Wow, what an interesting passage, very intriguing! Thank you for stopping by my teaser :-)

Unknown 2/26/13, 9:18 AM  

This sounds difficult, as the topic is sad, but very interesting. I'll be adding it to my list!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 2/26/13, 9:24 AM  

I enjoyed this book's powerful opening. I'd keep reading...I love coming of age stories, and Rory sounds like a heroine I would definitely root for!

Here's my First Chapter entry: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2013/02/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday_26.html

bermudaonion 2/26/13, 9:24 AM  

That teaser was excellent! The book sounds terrific.

Alice Audrey 2/26/13, 10:53 AM  

Little girls grow up fast in places like that. I like the way the focus on the teeth opens up on so much about her world.

Zibilee 2/26/13, 11:52 AM  

This sounds like something that I would love to read. So deep and human. I am off to look for this one now!

Unknown 2/26/13, 11:53 AM  

This book sounds fascinating! I hope for Rory's sake there's hope, love and laughter somewhere in her life. This is a book I cannot pass up.
Thanks for posting about iut!

Heather 2/26/13, 4:53 PM  

Wow, that is quite a beginning. Sounds good! My teaser: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Sandy Nawrot 2/26/13, 8:24 PM  

I have a feeling this is one of those books that allow you to close your eyes and travel right to the action in your mind. Dusty trailer parks are pretty vivid atmospheres.

Yvonne 2/26/13, 8:57 PM  

Great teaser! Sounds like a good read.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 2/26/13, 9:04 PM  

I DO like the sound of this one a lot. I haven't heard of it previously so I'm glad you joined us this week. enjoy

Nise' 2/26/13, 9:46 PM  

Another book that has been sitting on my shelves for too long!

Daryl 2/27/13, 9:18 AM  

sounds like an excellent read .. thanks!

Julie P. 2/27/13, 7:08 PM  

Totally new to me and looks fabulous!

Anonymous,  3/2/13, 12:03 AM  

Oooh, another book I loved! It's pretty gritty in parts, but totally worth it! And I loved the style.

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