The Talk-Funny Girl

The Talk-Funny Girl

4.6 17
by Roland Merullo

View All Available Formats & Editions

In one of the poorest parts of rural New Hampshire, teenage girls have been disappearing, snatched from back country roads, never to be seen alive again.  For seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, the fear raised by these abductions is the backdrop to what she lives with her own home, every day.  Marjorie has been raised by parents so intentionally


In one of the poorest parts of rural New Hampshire, teenage girls have been disappearing, snatched from back country roads, never to be seen alive again.  For seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, the fear raised by these abductions is the backdrop to what she lives with her own home, every day.  Marjorie has been raised by parents so intentionally isolated from normal society that they have developed their own dialect, a kind of mountain hybrid of English that displays both their ignorance of and disdain for the wider world.  Marjorie is tormented by her classmates, who call her “The Talk-funny girl,” but as the nearby factory town sinks deeper into economic ruin and as her parents fall more completely under the influence of a sadistic cult leader, her options for escape dwindle.  But then, thanks to a loving aunt, Marjorie is hired by a man, himself a victim of abuse, who is building what he calls “a cathedral,” right in the center of town.   Day by day, Marjorie’s skills as a stoneworker increase, and so too does her intolerance for the bitter rules of her family life.  Gradually, through exposure to the world beyond her parents’ wood cabin thanks to the kindness of her aunt and her boss, and an almost superhuman determination, she discovers what is loveable within herself.  This newfound confidence and self-esteem ultimately allows her to break free from the bleak life she has known, to find love, to start a family, and to try to heal her old, deep wounds without passing that pain on to her husband and children.   By turns darkly menacing and bright with love and resilience, The Talk-Funny Girl is the story of one young woman’s remarkable courage, a kind of road map for the healing of early abuse, and a testament to the power of kindness and love.

Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
…this isn't just another story about an unfortunate girl escaping terrible circumstances or a gothic mystery about missing children, and it's even better than I can make it sound. Set as it is in New England, it looks at the American connection between devout religion and veiled murderousness—the same deadly combination that once tore through Salem. Where does that impulse come from, and how does it inform our current lives? That's what Roland Merullo wants us to consider.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Merullo's (Breakfast with Buddha) coming-of-age story is told from afar by Marjorie Richards, now a married mother of two, but 20-some years ago a poor girl with an awkward dialect stuck in rural New Hampshire with abusive parents. On the eve of her 17th birthday, Margie's dad tells her to find "full-pay work" and she gets a job helping Sands Ivers build a cathedral from the ruins of a burned church. It's a lucky break, as Sands's recovery from past trauma shows Margie how to shed her damaged adolescent shell in favor of a young woman's self-assurance—if she doesn't end up murdered, that is, as a sadistic killer is rounding up and murdering young girls in the area. The adult Margie's desire to relive this year is fueled by her need to break the chain of abuse. She evaluates the psychology that kept her a victim to her parents' sadism, but that sadism, which is over the top, and Margie's emotional remove make it hard to empathize. The kidnap-and-murder plot Merullo adds keeps the pages turning, but it resolves with a conclusion that, though twisted, seems to involve almost everyone Margie knows, putting a further strain on the reader's belief. (July)
From the Publisher
“In the searing tradition of Bastard out of Carolina and Ellen Foster… Merullo not only displays an inventive use of language in creating the Richards’ strange dialect but also delivers a triumphant story of one lonely girl’s resilience.”--Booklist

"Roland Merullo's book, The Talk-Funny Girl, takes place in the gritty real world, but is rooted in a mythic world.  I loved the inventiveness, the bits of unusual language, the heart-wrenching story, and the remarkable portrait of a troubled but gutsy girl who battles her way toward happiness.  One of the best novels I have ever read. A book for the ages."--Anita Shreve, author of Rescue

"Roland Merullo has created not just a unique voice but a unique language for seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, but what makes The Talk-Funny Girl unforgettable is its young heroine's refusal to succumb to the evil that surrounds her. What a brilliant, great-hearted novel this is."--Ron Rash, author of Serena and Burning Bright

“Captivating...[Merullo] is adept at creating suspense, planting credible red herrings, and finally spilling the truth at just the right a breathless, stunning climax that feels both surprising and inevitable." - Boston Globe

Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

ROLAND MERULLO is the acclaimed author of twelve previous books, including Revere Beach Boulevard, In Revere in Those Days, A Little Love Story, Golfing with God, Breakfast with Buddha, and American Savior. Merullo has won numerous prizes, including the Massachusetts Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Talk-Funny Girl 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will surely open your eyes to the brutality that some children face. Although a novel, I can believe that this isn't unheard of. The author has a spectacular way of bringing you into every detail right from the first page. I am enjoying it so much that at a quarter of the way through, I'm giving it 5 stars!!! I love when I don't have to struggle at the beginning of a book to"get into it".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Right people are always doing that and it is so annoying!annyways it is an awsome book happy reads
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I coulnt agee more!! Your so right i want to see if its a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry I'm breaking my own rule but PLEASE STOP posting stuff about yourself, questions about boring things, and crap you want to do! Some people (like me) arw trying to see if this is a good book. Please stop that's what people made Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for not Nook reviews!!!
1998LB More than 1 year ago
I just read this books, and let me tell you it was an eye-opener into another world. The book describes Marjorie Richards and her way into staying with her family and becoming a woman. She goes thorugh many obstacles, her parents want her to work and make all the money, and then give it to them. Her aunt wants Marjorie to live with her and start a new life and get the education she needs. Then she fights herself into doing what's right versus what's wrong. I recommend this book to any child that has problems in their life, or who is being bullied, or to anyone in general because you get hooked to the whole story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
susief2121 More than 1 year ago
A marvelous book! It was very real, the characters were all believable, and unfortunately there are a lot of people living much the same life as the family in this book. There was a sense of crawling unease that was always just under the surface. The very unique language was strange, but it never got in the way of understanding the dialogue. Highly recommend this book, it was a grand read, and now I am going to search out more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Melissa Mundy More than 1 year ago
Incredible page turner. The story broke my heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Katie m was blocked. We are moving to "Gods girls" result 2. Thanks for the cooperation!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hmm.. I am central time and usually any time after 3:30 is good as long as I am not doing anything.. :P
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My dream is to star in movies. It has been since the summer but ive never been so sure of anythin as i am of this. I know if it is God's will it will happen. I hope it is because i want this sooo bad tho i know thousands of people do as well. But since actors and celebrities can be so looked up to id hope to be one that is so i could use my faith and fame to reach others. So that's my dream.