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Winner of the American Library Association Alex Award
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A Booklist Best Adult Book for Young Adults
A Library Journal Best Book
Shortlisted for the 2012 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
Rory Hendrix, the least likely of Girl Scouts, hasn’t got a troop or a badge to call her own. But she still borrows the Handbook from the elementary school library to pore over its advice, looking for tips to get off the Calle—the Reno trailer park where she lives with her mother, Jo, the sweet-faced, hard-luck bartender at the Truck Stop.
Rory’s been told she is one of the “third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom,” and she’s determined to break the cycle. As Rory struggles with her mother’s habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good, she finds refuge in books and language. From diary entries, social workers' reports, story problems, arrest records, family lore, and her grandmother’s letters, Tupelo Hassman's Girlchild crafts a devastating collage that shows us Rory's world while she searches for the way out of it.
“With a compelling (if harrowing) story and a wise-child narrator, Hassman's debut gives voice—and soul—to a world so often reduced to cliché. A darkly funny and frequently heartbreaking portrait of life as one of America's have-nots.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[An] inventive, exciting debut . . . Hassman’s creatively titled, short, free-form chapters are helium-filled imagination fodder, and Hassman takes what could be trite or unbelievable in less talented hands and makes it entirely the opposite.”—Annie Bostrom, Booklist
“Blighted opportunity and bad choices revisit three generations of women in a Reno, Nev., trailer park in these affecting dispatches . . . This debut possesses powerful writing and unflinching clarity.”—Publishers Weekly
Tupelo Hassman introduces us to her young narrator Rory Hendrix and her Girl Scout troop of one.