praise for
girlchild

This amazing debut spills over with love but is still absolutely unflinching and real.  That is no easy combo to pull off, and Hassman does it repeatedly with precision and grace.  Rory D. is ebulliently alive on the page; she's really that kind of fresh new voice people talk about, leaving us with a completely memorable character.

 --Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, winner of SCIBA award for best fiction and an Alex Award


Life is a crazy risk, a foolish venture, a journey hardly worth attempting by poor daughters raised by poor daughters who have no maps or guidebooks (and no teeth, either), who receive no justice that doesn’t hurt about the same as the injustice it means to remedy. As a girl, Rory Dawn Hendrix faces life’s “ratty truths” and is a long time quiet before she roars from her mother’s trailer in Reno, Nevada. Her voice is funny and pained, confused and outrageous. This story is your worst white nightmare. Tupelo Hassman's GIRLCHILD is a triumph and a philosophical treatise on survival.

--Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Critics Circle and National Book Award Finalist
American Salvage


This first novel is not like anything you or I have ever read. Something between a shocking exposé, a defiant treatise, a prose poem and an exuberant Girl Scout manual, always formally inventive and bursting with energy, GIRLCHILD will do nothing to disabuse you of the notion that lowdown trailer parks like this one outside of Reno jack up the birthrate and invite the sexual abuse of young girls if the innocents are left alone for even twenty minutes, while an otherwise endearing grandma goes to play the slots. Yes, this is an insider’s report confirming the worst you ever allowed yourself to think about matriarchal trailer park dynasties whose women routinely bring five or six babies into the world by the age of 25, as if birth control didn’t exist. And yet somehow Tupelo Hassman’s book is also a testament to the joy and beauty of life and the saving power of language wherever it gets a foothold. She has those Girl Scout’s irrepressible high spirits, which in this case flow forth as brilliance and lyricism, even from the trailer park perspective. Tupelo Hassman loves life, including this life, in spite of everything, and you can’t help loving this novel along with her.

--Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, 2010 National Book Award Winner, Fiction


From the first page of Tupelo Hassman’s brilliant debut novel GIRLCHILD, I fell in love with its unforgettable narrator. I couldn’t stop reading until the heartbreaking but hopeful end, rooting for Rory Dawn Hendrix to make her own destiny in spite of the odds against her. 

--Amy Greene, author of the highly-praised 2011 debut Bloodroot


GIRLCHILD is a devastating and hilarious portrait of poor white America. Hassman’s ruthless dissection of the laws, traditions and values of a trailer park will leave you horrified and laughing uproariously. Hassman’s novel is at once a rag tag anthem to the generations of single mothers raising their children on their own, a brilliant critique of the inadequacies of social services and a colorful depiction of the extraordinary hurdles children who break the cycle of poverty have to face. But mostly it is a description of the seismic transformations that happen within each of us as we fly the coop. Hassman’s wildly inventive prose explodes off the page.

-Heather O’Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals


I’m smitten by Hassman's debut. The beauty of this story is how it plays: great turns in language, humor that points to sadness, and a structure that is messy and tidy all at the same time. GIRLCHILD is overwhelming in an engaging and beautiful way. Yes, I’ll take more of this.

--Salvador Plascencia, critically acclaimed author of The People of Paper and one of Poets & Writers 50 Most Inspiring Authors in the World, 2010



  

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