Girlchild: A Novel

Girlchild: A Novel

by Tupelo Hassman
3.6 43

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Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman

Rory Hendrix is the least likely of Girl Scouts. She hasn't got a troop or even a badge to call her own. But she's checked the Handbook out from the elementary school library so many times that her name fills all the lines on the card, and she pores over its surreal advice (Uniforms, disposing of outgrown; The Right Use of Your Body; Finding Your Way When Lost) for tips to get off the Calle: that is, the Calle de las Flores, the Reno trailer park where she lives with her mother, Jo, the sweet-faced, hard-luck bartender at the Truck Stop.

Rory's been told that she is one of the "third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom." But she's determined to prove the county and her own family wrong. Brash, sassy, vulnerable, wise, and terrified, she struggles with her mother's habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good. From diary entries, social workers' reports, half-recalled memories, arrest records, family lore, Supreme Court opinions, and her grandmother's letters, Rory crafts a devastating collage that shows us her world even as she searches for the way out of it.

Tupelo Hassman's Girlchild is a heart-stopping and original debut.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466801455
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 172,105
File size: 525 KB

About the Author

Tupelo Hassman graduated from Columbia's MFA program. Her writing has been published in the Portland Review Literary Journal, Paper Street Press, Tantalum, We Still Like, and Zyzzyva, and by 100 Word Story, Five, and Invisible City Audio Tours.

Tupelo Hassman graduated from Columbia’s MFA program. Her writing has been published in The Portland Review Literary Journal, Paper Street Press, Tantalum, We Still Like, and Zyzzyva, and by Invisible City Audio Tours. She is the author of the novel Girlchild.

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Girlchild: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
savannahcook More than 1 year ago
I almost gave up on this book, then would read one more short chapter after the other until I got to the end and said, "Well, I'm glad I read that book." I work at a middle school, and this book helped to remind me that not all children have a loving mother and father at home helping them succeed in school and in life. This little girl raised herself, protected her mother from knowing that she was being molested, and evidently was brilliant in school. The book ends the only way it could - with her striking out on her own. Yes, it's hard to follow at times. Then again, the chapter with all the lines blacked out showing what it was like in the dark bathroom ... well, that was brilliant if you have an imagination. So, take your chances if what I've said intrigues you! For those who are interested in knowing more about students who are this age, I also recommend Alice Bliss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
different than anything else i've read recently, but i'm not sure i could or would recommend this book to others. girl growing up poor, fatherless, in a trailer park, misunderstood, abused, somewhat depressing overall author's writing is hard to follow at times glad i read it but also glad it's finished
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. She nailed it - the people in Calle, the girl and her mother and her grandmother; the abuse and wanting to still belong to her mother, and having to figure out how to forgive the fact that she wasn't protected. How hard it was to leave, and how it all stays with you even when you do leave and move on and do better than where you came from . . . I knew this girl once and I knew those people. She totally nailed it.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
The cover caught my eye. A trailer that looks like it would feel at home in my trailer park but set in the desserts of Nevada. I started reading and it knocked me over to read a story that followed my own childhood eerily close. It didn't hide how common child sexual abuse is, but it didn't go into painful detail either. I think it was the perfect balance on such a difficult topic for so many (too many) women. This story is not an easy read. It deals with those living in poverty for generations as their own counter-culture. I thought it was brilliant because so much of it range true. Especially how anyone from the government (including or and especially police) is not to be trusted. How very hard people work just to get by. During a time when the stereotype of the welfare abusers is running rampant, we see that is stupid because even with welfare, life is hard and lean. I thought this was such a sad read, and so well written I literally couldn't put it down. It's not going to be for everyone. The story is written almost like a diary, with the time-frame and memories jumping all over the place without a lot of hints about where you are currently at in Rory Dawn's life. But I absolutely loved it, the story was completely captivating.
HarrietteWilson More than 1 year ago
Beautiful novel that takes on difficult topics---multigenerational poverty and physical and sexual abuse---in a sensitive way. The author's stream of consciousness approach might not be for everyone, but for those who appreciate its lyricism this is an incredible read.
Monie120 More than 1 year ago
This book has good moments but it really wasn't what I expected. Not something I'd recommend. I've read better books about traumatic childhood experiences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tupelo Hassman is Shakespeare of the trailer park. Loved reading Girlchild.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
she remembers many of the things that kids do and think to try to keep themselves sane in an insane world.
literatissima More than 1 year ago
Rory Dawn Hendrix is an under-privileged, imaginative young girl, growing up a the low-class trailer park known as "The Calle" (de Las Flores) outside Reno, NV. She is the mother of a teenage mother who is the daughter of a teenage mother as well. There is heartbreak and disappointment in this life, but Rory finds comfort in The Girl Scout Handbook, spelling words and using her imagination to escape. Beautifully written in brief digestible chapters, stream of consciousness and intercalary interludes lend a unique voice to the main character and her coming of age saga. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of modern lit, coming of age novels, serious dramatic themes and anyone who started out with a rough beginning in life.
Vick29 More than 1 year ago
Still trying to get through this book.....hate not to finish reading a book that I have paid good money for but it is hard. I guess I should keep my opinion to myself until I finally do finish it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to follow. Depressing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt that she assumed readers could follow her thoughts more easily than they could. Very depressing concepts and attitude.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
Typical literary "wonder" that speaks in constant metaphors that are supposed to be artistic but actually are boring and redundant. Of course, I didn't graduate from an Ivy League MFA program so what do I know? Not so much a novel as a stream of consciousness, disjointed and hard to follow. I was bored and then bored even more with the predictable foray into molestation. Sigh. Can't any story be written about a female character that doesn't fall back on this tired theme? I regret the time lost slogging through this even more than the money spent on it.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
I really liked the writing style in this book. It's broken down into small diary-like entries chronically Rory's life, although not entirely in order. Interspersed are reports from a social worker and entries that are more philosophical in nature or general observations about life in the Calle. Rory and her mother move from California to just outside Reno, NV when Rory is 4. Her four older brothers have moved away to find their father, and Rory and her mother go to live in a trailer park, known as the Calle, to be near her grandmother. Grandma Shirley had Jo when she was a teenager, Jo had her first child at 15, so Rory is the hope of the family. She is smart, and everyone is determined that she shouldn't mess up her life by getting pregnant. It reminded me of Me & Emma and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, but it was also very unique in the style and voice. I was attracted to this book because of the inclusion of Girl Scouts in the description. And while there is a thread of references to the Girl Scout Handbook, it's not as big of a plot element as I was expecting. The book definitely centers more about Buck v. Bell in which "feebleminded" women are deemed worthy of infertility by the Supreme Court. This quick read is a collage of snippets of the tragic and unfortunate way of life of many poor people in America.
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RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman is one of those books, that after reading other people's reviews, I was dying to read.  And luckily, this book fell into my hands after a library book sale (those are always the best, aren't they?). Girlchild is a book about Rory Dawn Hendrix, a girl who lives in the trailer park in Reno with her mother and near her grandmother.  Her life is not beautiful, not wonderful, not uplifting in any way at all. But Rory finds a connection with the Girl Scout Handbook, which is her bright shiny way out of the trailer park. Will Rory be able to break the cycle and not get pregnant young?  Will she be able to leave the trailer park and set up a new life for herself?  Or will she be just like her mother, stuck in the rut of the trailer park lifestyle forever? This is a tough book to read about.  There are issues like sexual abuse, drugs, and drinking.  But the sexual abuse is much less explicit (almost "hidden"), not like in the book Push. But similar to Push by Sapphire, Girlchild is a tough read that should be read.  It's a small window into a world that is foreign to most of us, but is REAL.  Don't shy away from it because it's tough: embrace it. What do you think about these kinds of tough reads? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
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GrammyReading More than 1 year ago
tupelo hassman can write...she can write very well...she can write so well i still have the taste of paper in my mouth from devouring this book..this girlchild...this chosen one to break the family curse....this all alone girl out in the desert of poverty had to make it matter what it took...ignorance, poverty, abuse, false promises, even death...and the girl scouts of america....lessons taught, observed and learned...rooted for her and cheered her on....this tupelo had a story to tell...and she told it well...thank you ms hassman
Anonymous More than 1 year ago