Stupid Children

Stupid Children

by Lenore Zion
     
 

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Jane lived happily in Miami Beach with her father until his failed suicide attempt and relocation to a mental hospital forced her into the foster care system. By chance, Jane is assigned to foster parents in central Florida who are deeply involved in the Second Day Believers&mdasha cult focused on the “cleansing” of mental impurities in their children,

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Overview

Jane lived happily in Miami Beach with her father until his failed suicide attempt and relocation to a mental hospital forced her into the foster care system. By chance, Jane is assigned to foster parents in central Florida who are deeply involved in the Second Day Believers&mdasha cult focused on the “cleansing” of mental impurities in their children, and the sanctity of the internal organs of farm animals. Jane is quickly initiated into the Second Day Believers, but her father’s lingering voice prevents her from becoming entirely indoctrinated. Despite Jane’s resistance, she is revered in the cult as the second coming of the late wife of Sir One, the leader of the Second Day Believers. Poised to rise through the ranks of the insane cult and marry their leader, Jane must make a difficult choice.

Stupid Children is a story inspired by Katherine Dunn’s, Geek Love, and written in a voice similar to Donald Barthelme. Hilarious, offbeat, fast-paced and wildly imaginative, Zion, a doctor of psychology, imbues her characters with bizarre psychological abnormalities to create vivid, memorable eccentrics that leap from the page. With deadpan, wonderful ruminations on tattoos, the nature of coincidence, drug use, father-daughter relationships, mental illness, violence, and deviant sexuality, this novel is destined to become a cult favorite.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After her widower father's suicide attempt leads to a permanent stay at a mental institution, teenager Jane is plucked from her home in Miami Beach and shipped off to foster care. Here, she finds herself under the thumb of an odd new family, members of a peculiar religious sect known as the Second Day Believers. Jane experiments with cutting, endures a strange, Denis Johnson-esque acid trip with her pal, Virginia, and briefly runs away. Despite her angst and rebellion, Jane is earmarked as the ideal mate for Sir One, the cult's leader. Adolescent adventures and bizarre ritualistic ceremonies-including "healing swims" in pools of animal intestines, cleansings by way of nose shattering balloons, and rebirthing celebrations involving cow carcasses-pack the imaginative debut novel from Zion, who seems to wonder if the "stupid children" of the title are Jane and her friends or the sect's muddled followers. While Zion nicely balances the relatable with the curious as she weaves a darkly humorous, gloomy tale, the novel falls shy of complete satisfaction. Jane's tortured existence is compelling, but unneeded plot reminders and an overly loquacious (and tangent-friendly) narration squander momentum, making the already slim volume feel unevenly padded.
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From the Publisher

"One of the year's most impressive debuts."
—David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

"An imaginative debut novel...Zion nicely balances the relatable with the curious as she weaves a darkly humorous, gloomy tale."
Publishers Weekly

"Lenore Zion’s dizzying debut novel, Stupid Children, contains many back-shivering, put-the-book-aside-and-take-a-deep-breath moments."
—Brian Gresko, The Rumpus

"Stupid Children is a bildungsroman of twisted proportions told with startling clarity through the filter of a smart, psychoanalytic perspective. No character is safe from Zion’s unapologetic examinations. She bestows her protagonist with an open mind, a sharp intellect, and a sweltering imagination—all of the requisite ingredients for a disturbing, fascinating novel."
—Thomas Michael Duncan, Necessary Fiction

"Stupid Children is witty and engaging, proof that Zion is adept at handling difficult subject matter."
ForeWord Reviews

"While it might not be unusual to read something that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time, Stupid Children is a rare book that maintains that unsettling tone from beginning to end."
—Heather Ortiz, San Francisco Book Review

Stupid Children surprises and dazzles at every turn. You will not forget this book.”
—Jonathan Evison, author of All About Lulu and West of Here

“A wildly inventive, horribly funny, and morbidly touching debut novel. If I were the multi-spleened founder of an oddball cult in need of a new high priestess, I’d tap Lenore Zion.”
—Greg Olear, author of Fathermucker and Totally Killer

“Equal parts satirical romp and dystopian lament, and skillfully blending house of horrors with theater of the absurd.”
—Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men, Slut Lullabies and My Sister's Continent

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780983693260
Publisher:
Emergency Press
Publication date:
02/12/2013
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
971,239
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.39(d)

Meet the Author


Lenore Zion’s first book, My Dead Pets are Interesting, was published by TNB books in 2011. She is an original contributor to The Nervous Breakdown, started by Brad Listi in 2008. Zion has a doctorate in clinical psychology, a degree which spawned her interest in psychological abnormalities. Her specialty is the treatment of sexual pathology, and her dissertation focused on the paraphilias—sexual impulse disorders that include exhibitionism, pedophilia, fetishism, sadism, masochism, and frotteurism, among others. She lives in Los Angeles.

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