Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

4.2 25
by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The time is the 1950s. The place is a blue-collar town in upstate New York, where five high school girls are joined in a gang dedicated to pride, power, and vengeance on a world that seems made to denigrate and destroy them. Foxfire is Joyce Carol Oates’s strongest and most unsparing novel yet—an always engrossing, often shocking evocation of

Overview

The time is the 1950s. The place is a blue-collar town in upstate New York, where five high school girls are joined in a gang dedicated to pride, power, and vengeance on a world that seems made to denigrate and destroy them. Foxfire is Joyce Carol Oates’s strongest and most unsparing novel yet—an always engrossing, often shocking evocation of female rage, gallantry, and grit. Here is the secret history of a sisterhood of blood, a haven from a world of male oppressors, marked by a liberating fury that burns too hot to last. Above all, it is the story of Legs Sadovsky, with her lean, on-the-edge, icy beauty, whose nerve, muscle, hate, and hurt make her the spark of Foxfire, its guiding spirit, its burning core. At once brutal and lyrical, this is a careening joyride of a novel—charged with outlaw energy and lit by intense emotion. Amid scenes of violence and vengeance lies this novel’s greatest power: the exquisite, astonishing rendering of the bonds that link the Foxfire girls together. Foxfire reaffirms Joyce Carol Oates’s place at the very summit of American writing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brilliant … Foxfire burns brightly … exhilarating."
New York Times Book Review

"Wonderful, beautiful, a vivid novel."
Washington Post

"Profound … a riveting whirlwind of a novel."
Los Angeles Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It was between the ages of thirteen and seventeen that I belonged to FOXFIRE and FOXFIRE made sacred those years.'' Madeleine Faith Wirtz narrates Oates's 22nd novel in first-person promiscuous, chronicling intimately the violent comings and goings of a communard and her female teenaged outfit: Foxfire, a gang set up in smalltown, upstate Hammond, N.Y., during the 1950s. Maddy and her four cohorts find strength in numbers. Together they assault and kill, their main victims being adult men who have have exploited them. The novel is written years afterward from the vantage point of skeptical adulthood when Maddy has gone respectable and looks over the notebooks she had kept during her Foxfire days. In the course of reminiscing, Maddy recovers the group's ardor, the sense of oppression and reckless abandon, and then tempers it. The novel is true to Oates and her oeuvre, revisiting some of the themes of her earliest work -- female delinquency and survival -- while seeking to expand the canvas into a group portrait. The author grittily evokes the hectic, heated power surges of self-taught feminist anarchists; in her prose she walks a delicate line between the raw and the literary, the wildly ignorant and the wisely knowing.
Library Journal
Oates, one of America's most distinguished and prolific writers, has triumphed again with this deftly crafted, highly imaginative novel about a girl gang called Foxfire and its leader, Legs Sadovsky. Legs is many things: a female Robin Hood, a Marxist revolutionary, a highly intelligent naif, an incredibly bold, indestructible heroine. Legs, who is wise beyond her years, dominates Foxfire with her superiority. But Legs is not a writer; that responsibility she delegates to Maddy Wirtz, who becomes the official chronicler of Foxfire's history. Later in life, in search of elusive truth, Maddy returns to her notebooks and relives her Foxfire days of the 1950s, a decade she and her female contemporaries (of all ages) experienced through violence, fear, and oppression. The forces that gave rise to Foxfire and the bonds that kept it together raise many interesting questions about gender, social status, and sexuality. As in any Oates novel, these multiple themes intertwine to create a richly textured piece.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452272316
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1994
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
242,497
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)
Lexile:
1520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Brilliant … Foxfire burns brightly … exhilarating."
— New York Times Book Review

"Wonderful, beautiful, a vivid novel."
Washington Post

"Profound … a riveting whirlwind of a novel."
Los Angeles Times

Meet the Author

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Black Water, and Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart (available in Plume editions), Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (Plume), a 1995 World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie (Plume), winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers' Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales and her latest novel is Broke Heart Blues (Dutton). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely powerful novel, and very moving. Yes, i found it to be rather racist, but the story was taken place in the 50's and that was common in that time. Yes, the the girls in the story DO have the right to call themselves a 'gang' because the word gang simply means 'to form a group of people', and in the 50's gangs were not anything like they are nowdays, they were not fueding over 2 colors of the rainbow (red & blue)! they were money and drug launderers, thieves, or people who enjoyed causing mischief. so yes, these girls could call themselves a gang. So to the two 'students' who wrote their comments, I say, you need to stay in school and learn more about the 50's, and learn what the word 'Gang' really means (amongst other words). This is a terrific book!
BookwormIB More than 1 year ago
Determined to tell nothing but the truth, the official chronicler of FOXFIRE, Maddy Wirtz, recounts the many adventures she and her friends endure during the abstract days of FOXFIRE. Being the only outlaw girl gang in Hammond, New York, five unique girls of FOXFIRE depend solely upon Legs Sadovsky, first-in-command, to get them through the day and out the Others' grasp. In Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, Joyce Carol Oates instills in her captivated audience a novel that will keep one alertly focused and compelled to know what happens next to the young teenage girls of FOXFIRE. Throughout the novel, imagery and sensory details are clearly evident in each passage of every page, bringing forth a live sensation of actually being able to experience the scene(s). Known to have a single paragraph to go on for pages, Oates establishes in each elongated paragraph an empathetic emotion that literally pops out at the reader, creating an unforgettable moment that forces the reader to keep on reading. It also seems as though Oates wants her readers to understand that the sisterhood of the girls in FOXFIRE means something more than just a friendship that just so happened to take on the status of being an outlaw gang. Although Joyce Carol Oates develops well-defined characters that bring her story to a real-life level, one character in particular stands out above all the rest; Legs Sadovsky, the leader of FOXFIRE, a heroine among the gangs, the bringer of justice to friends. In her novel, Joyce Carol Oates portrays Legs to be a female Robin Hood, but more or less for the wrong reasons because of the way Legs and her friends go about justifying what they believe to be wrong. But, overall, Joyce Carol Oates has written a very unique book, from the intense feelings emitted through the pages to the personalities of the characters themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
blondereader More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this novel. It's the kind of book that keeps you thinking about it even after you finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
xdanix3babiix More than 1 year ago
The novel Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates is about a group of girls that become a well-known gang in upstate New York in the 1950¿s. Growing up these girl¿s lives never seemed perfect. Rita was heavy and slow when it came to school. She was made fun of and harassed be her teacher. Legs, the oldest, though rough around the edges was very hard on the girls. Her life was messed up causing her to lash out at her Foxfire girls. The others had just the same problems as Legs and Rita, but they became like sisters in their own family; doing anything to keep them all safe and happy no matter what that meant. The Foxfire girls were like tomboys and would do just about anything to keep their boyish figures making them look tough. They called themselves Foxfire swearing to the name and forever wearing the signs, all the while the world was clueless of them and their acts as well. One thing though that did not seem to make sense was if they were really a good gang then there would not be another wing of the Foxfire.

Overall I thought it was an okay book, very slow in the beginning but definitely picking up as the chapters go. Foxfire is a very detailed novel as well giving you a great idea of what the girls, places and just about everything looked and felt like. The only thing that was confusing was the flip flopping in the beginning, going from Maddy¿s (a Foxfire founder) thoughts and the over view of the narrator¿s.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overall this was a good book but not great. I wasn't really impressed with the ending. There was some really good scenes but at some point the story started to drag on. The story may have been more interesting if it was told from Legs point of view. Basically the book was about this group of girls that looked up to Legs and did everything she said. They werent allowed to date or hang out with other girls outside of the group. The group gets involved in all these small, petty crimes which eventually grow into bigger crimes but...the plot was enough to keep me reading but it couldv'e been better maybe if we knew more of legs and the other girls before they joined the gang?im not sure. I didnt feel a srong connection with the characters. And yes there was alot of racist terms used in the book...I do think Joyce was trying to capture the time period but she may have overdone it. This was my second book by Joyce and it was overall a good read but Man Crazy was better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is terrible!!! none of these girls had any right or reason to call their group a 'gang' because i know what real gangs are like and Foxfire wouldn't last a second running with the real gangs. i kept reading hoping these girls would wise up and get lives but instead their next ideas were worse than the last. all the girls except for one are racist and all are sexist. this is without a doubt the worst book i have ever had the displeasure of being forced to read for summer reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book by Joyce Carol Oates but this is the best book I have read in years....I found that the story diplays true faith in your friends and realtionships developed between the girls that under normal circumstances would never accosiate with each other.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, written by Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of five young girls joined in a gang in Upstate, New York during 1950¿s, and their experiences with the outside world. The book talks about the gang and how it was based on loyalty, dedication, pride, and power. The book dealt with themes like sexual abuse, exploitation, physical violence, and vengeance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow...brilliant...outstanding...compulsively readable. Each character has their own unique qualities and especially Legs who keeps the book alive. Its sincere, action packed, and thought provoking. Bravo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book!! Legs is the best character ever created by Joyce Carol Oates. The intense relationship between Legs and Maddy is what pulled me into this phenomenal tale. Read this book, and then see this movie!! Both deserve this 5-star rating!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Foxfire is one of the greatest books I have read in a long time. The bond these girls share is unforgettable. The story is daring, imaginative, and heart wrenching. Legs is a awesome character. Foxfire will burn in your heart forever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books. It convinces girls to stick up for themselves. I think anyone who liked to book should also see the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. It compels girls to take care of themselves and not let other people hold them down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates is an impenatrable author and Foxfire is no exeption. She makes me wonder how to get a little bit of all the girls in me. Gripping. Brava!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Deeply moving. compelling. sensual and yet a wake up call.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Foxfire is one of the best books I have read. It holds a place for the time today, the female bond and sexuality was supurb. This is a must read for anyone who is faced with obsticals they cant really find a way out of. Legs Sadowsky is one great character!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i was forced to read this book as a part of my summer reading. my english teacher assured us it was a great book and we would love it. unfortunately she could not be any more mistaken. i found the book to be rather boring and pointless. basically this book is about a group of atheist, white girls who have nothing better to do than form a 'gang' and go along with whatever their 'first-in-command' wants to do. maybe if it was a true gang it would have been better. but these girls had no right to be calling their group a gang. they did not come from that kind a neighborhood and would be killed if they went to a neighborhood where real gangs are. this book is also extremely prejudiced. there are many examples of racism where the girls refer to blacks with the n word and one girl refers to herself as 'superior' to them. it is even worse to men. according to the gang 'men are the enemy'. they even take advantage of them by first prostituting themselves and then when the men think the girls want to move on to the next level the girls threaten to call the police inorder to take the men's money. in the end the girls decide to kidnap a wealthy man inorder to get a million dollars in ransom and never have to work again. well it doesn't work out, the leader dies, and the 'gang' falls apart. so basically if you are looking for a good read i suggest you do not read this book. and for all the english teachers, please never assign this book for the sake of your students happiness.