Books by State: Nevada

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

“Rory Hendrix is the least likely of Girl Scouts. She hasn’t got a troop or even a badge to call her own. But she’s checked the Handbook out from the elementary school library so many times that her name fills all the lines on the card, and she pores over its surreal advice (Uniforms, disposing of outgrown; The Right Use of Your Body; Finding Your Way When Lost) for tips to get off the Calle: that is, the Calle de las Flores, 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 that she is one of the “third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom.” But she’s determined to prove the county and her own family wrong. Brash, sassy, vulnerable, wise, and terrified, she struggles with her mother’s habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good. From diary entries, social workers’ reports, half-recalled memories, arrest records, family lore, Supreme Court opinions, and her grandmother’s letters, Rory crafts a devastating collage that shows us her world even as she searches for the way out of it.” –Amazon’s Summary

This was a really tragic story about the cycle of broken people begetting broken people, and the fight to end that cycle. It also shows how much of an effect your surroundings and societal interactions truly have on you. Rory lays out the “rules” of the Calle which she deduced from observation. With such a small community, there’s not much that passes by Rory without her noticing and committing it to memory, including a horrible secret that scars her for life. In such a close-knit community, you would maybe think hiding a dirty secret would be a hard thing to do. However, in a community where you have to rely heavily on each other, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise that people would avert their eyes and try to avoid acknowledging the issue until it is too obvious to ignore any longer.

Even with the tragedies Rory endures and the ones her mother endured earlier in her life, it was heartening to see Rory powering on – determined to escape the dead end life her matriarchs found themselves in, just as they always wanted for her.

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