Friday, October 11, 2013

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Karen Russell
Reviewed by: Nancy
4 out of 5 stars


In these ten glittering stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves introduces a radiant new writer.

My Review


St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is an unusual collection of imaginative, quirky, moving, unsettling, and stylishly written stories featuring troubled children as they learn, grow, and make their way in the world. Their parents are flawed and dealing with their own issues as well, like the minotaur who moves his human family out west for a fresh start. While I enjoyed the majority of stories in this collection, I found they suffered from sameness and repetition, which is why this book took me over a month to read.

One of my favorites in this collection was the title story, about a group of girls raised by wolves sent to a school to be educated and civilized by nuns.

“”Lick your own wounds,” I said, not unkindly. It was what the nuns had instructed us to say; wound licking was not something you did in polite company. Etiquette was so confounding in this country. Still, looking at Mirabella – her fists balled together like small, white porcupines, her brows knitted in animal confusion – I felt a throb of compassion. How can people live like they do? I wondered.”

I also enjoyed Out to Sea, about a group of retirees living in houseboats that are volunteered to pair up with at-risk youths completing their court-ordered community service.

“Like most of the residents of the of the Out-to-Sea Retirement Community, Miss Markopoulos has spent decades hoarding a secret cache of love, shelved and putrefying in a quiet cupboard within her; and now, at the end of a life, she has no one to share it with.”

I would recommend this collection to readers who enjoy fantasy, magical realism, quirky characters, and coming-of-age stories.

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