Reading Lately / 3

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rory Hendrix has been told she comes from a line of feebleminded folks and that she amounts to trash. And while it’s true the Reno trailer park is the backdrop for Rory's life on the Calle, that doesn’t change the fact that Rory is smart. Smart enough to find guidance in the pages of a well-worn Girl Scout Handbook, and clever enough to uncover her Mama’s file and piece together parts of her family’s bedraggled past. No doubt Rory was dealt a crappy hand. Yet although she experiences horrifying moments at a young age — moments that shape, confound, and sometimes silence — her unflinching spirit and genuine hope for a bright and free future make her attempts at a better life all the more meaningful. 

Draw an egg, the "Handbook" says, or model an egg-shaped piece of clay, and "hatch out" a bird. I look through the Birds from Every Continent section in the encyclopedia, searching for one kind whose body doesn't look like an egg, upright or sideways, but from loon to blue jay, ostrich to starling, all their shapes agree. Take this one to the bank: birds are hatched from eggs and are always egg-shaped. Maybe there's no escaping the shape that molds you, no getting around how you got started even if you do break out. I haven't found a mirror yet that doesn't reflect the curves of the Calle back at me, my dirty ways, my fragile teeth and bad skin, my hands that won't stop picking at themselves. The Girl Scouts win again. Except for one thing. Wings are born from that shape. They don't come from any other. 

Short chapters speed this compelling story along, while great turns of language make Tupelo Hassman’s debut novel unlike anything I have ever read. Truly a rare and satisfying treat. 


  1. Great, another book I have to add to my list! :)


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