I love me a good coming-of-age story. Something a little dangerous and somewhat painful definitely makes the grade too. Add to that a female character in an urban setting? Well, I’m your best friend and most cherished confidant.
I just finished reading Lullabies For Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. Wow oh wow oh wow. I devoured this book in just a few days and ignored my family for the good part of that time. I felt guilty for all of a second until I turned the page and entered into Baby’s world again.
For those of you who are a little lost, I am speaking of O’Neill’s 2006 debut novel. The novel follows Baby as she negotiates her way throughout turbulent teen years living with her addict father and a life of poverty and need. (for the record, I hate the phrase “turbulent teen years.” What is this? A Sweet Valley High blog entry? But it’s all I got at 11PM on a Sunday night – so bite me). O’Neill captures perfectly that awkward line between childhood innocence and burgeoning adulthood, all through the eyes of a self-conscious lonely girl. This novel doesn’t hold back, and refuses to let you go. Baby’s simultaneous curiosity and fear at the world around her spoke volumes to me.
But please Heather O’Neill – I need more of Baby. I need to hear more of her story. I need to know how her 20s and 30s go, and whether she makes it out the other side. I need this. Can’t you make that happen, please?