Saturday, July 21, 2012

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

This book enticed me from the public library New Books shelf because of the library envelope on the cover against the backdrop of isolated trailer. The book that Rory Dawn Hendrix repeatedly checks out from the library is The Girl Scout Handbook, her instruction manual for life which takes the place of the missing wisdom from her bar maid mother and her barely educated grandmother. Hassman uses alternating chapters of experimental style ranging from story problems with multiple choice answers to assumed reports written by the social worker who visits the trailer to check up on Rory. This mix confused the story rather than supported it, but I suppose reinforced the patch work of the lives of these sorry characters. I must say this book sent me researching the historic Buck vs. Bell court ruling written by Oliver Wendell Holmes that mandated sterilization for women who were determined to be "feeble-minded" - a word Rory uses early in the novel to describe the women role models in her life. Hassman applauds the influence of The Girl Scouts of America in her acknowledgements. The book trailer for the novel is worth checking out -  Girlchild Trailer

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