Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

Set in the 1980s, Rory Dawn Hendrix is a young girl living with her mother in a Reno trailer park. Rory’s maternal lineage includes a mother and grandmother who were both pregnant before turning 16.  They are also high school dropouts, chain smokers, and welfare dependents.  Rory’s trailer park, the Calle de la Flores, is no safe place for a child to be raised.  Violence and child abuse abound and children are often left alone while parents work or spend their nights at the local bar. 


Despite being brought up in the Calle, Rory attempts to be a proper girl by following the guidelines in the girlscout handbook she checked out from her school library.  She often feels that she will fall into the same traps as the women who came before her,  but her grandmother is sure that she will be the one to escape and make something of herself.  

My Thoughts: 
Tupelo Hassman’s debut novel is a coming of age story that takes a close look into the life of a poor, white girl whose future does not look so bright.  Hassman creatively combines social workers’ reports, letters, diary entires, arrest records, memories, etc. to give readers a glimpse into Rory’s life.  While this book does not read like a typical novel, you will find yourself immersed in the story, rooting for Rory to create a destiny of her own.   

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