Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    What I'm Giving | December 4, 2014

    Fred Armisen: IMG Fred Armisen: What I'm Giving



    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

    spacer

Lullabies for Little Criminals (P.S.)

by

Lullabies for Little Criminals (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780060875077
ISBN10: 0060875070
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $7.95!

 

Staff Pick

Baby (her given name) is thirteen with no mother and a heroin-addicted father — not a feel-good kind of storyline. Lullabies for Little Criminals is a humorous and nerve-racking story. I disliked every character in the novel at some point, but O'Neill made me care about these sad people, and want to find out if they could create decent lives. This is O'Neill's first novel, and to her credit, she wrote about unpleasant themes without pity; Baby is fragile, but with the will and smarts to survive.
Recommended by Brodie, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

LULLABIES FOR LITTLE CRIMINALS is the heartbreaking and wholly original debut novel by This American Life contributor Heather O'Neill, about a young girl fighting to preserve her bruised innocence on the feral streets of a big city.

Baby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world. Her mother is dead; her father, Jules, is scarcely more than a child himself, and always on the lookout for his next score. Baby knows that 'chocolate milk' is Jules' slang for heroin, and sees a lot more of that in her house than the real article. But she takes vivid delight in the scrappy bits of happiness and beauty that find their way to her, and moves through the threat of the streets as if she's been choreographed in a dance.

Soon, though, a hazard emerges that is bigger than even her hard–won survival skills can handle. Alphonse, the local pimp, has his eye on her for his new girl; and he wants her body and soul –– what the johns don't take he covets for himself. At the same time, a tender and naively passionate friendship unfolds with a boy from her class at school, who has no notion of the dark claims on her –– which even her father, lost on the nod, cannot totally ignore. Jules consigns her to a stint in juvie hall, and for the moment this perceived betrayal preserves Baby from terrible harm –– but after that, her salvation has to be her own invention.

Review:

"In her debut novel, This American Life contributor O'Neill offers a narrator, Baby, coming of age in Montreal just before her 12th birthday. Her mother is long dead. Her father, Jules, is a junkie who shuttles her from crumbling hotels to rotting apartments, his short-term work or moneymaking schemes always undermined by his rage and paranoia. Baby tries to screen out the bad parts by hanging out at the community center and in other kids' apartments, by focusing on school when she can and by taking mushrooms and the like. (She finds sex mostly painful.) Stints in foster care, family services and juvenile detention ('nostalgia could kill you there') usually end in Jules's return and his increasingly erratic behavior. Baby's intelligence and self-awareness can't protect her from parental and kid-on-kid violence, or from the seductive power of being desired by Alphonse, a charismatic predator, on the one hand, and by Xavier, an idealistic classmate, on the other. When her lives collide, Baby faces choices she is not equipped to make. O'Neill's vivid prose owes a debt to Donna Tartt's The Little Friend; the plot has a staccato feel that's appropriate but that doesn't coalesce. Baby's precocious introspection, however, feels pitch perfect, and the book's final pages are tear-jerkingly effective." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"O'Neill somehow infuses her troubling story with a kind of heartbreaking innocence... O'Neill is a wonderful stylist... and the voice she has created for Baby is original and altogether captivating." Michael Cart, Booklist

Synopsis:

A gritty, heart-wrenching novel about bruised innocence on the city's feral streets—the remarkable debut of a stunning literary talent

Heather O'Neill dazzles with a first novel of extraordinary prescience and power, a subtly understated yet searingly effective story of a young life on the streets—and the strength, wits, and luck necessary for survival.

At thirteen, Baby vacillates between childhood comforts and adult temptation: still young enough to drag her dolls around in a vinyl suitcase yet old enough to know more than she should about urban cruelties. Motherless, she lives with her father, Jules, who takes better care of his heroin habit than he does of his daughter. Baby's gift is a genius for spinning stories and for cherishing the small crumbs of happiness that fall into her lap. But her blossoming beauty has captured the attention of a charismatic and dangerous local pimp who runs an army of sad, slavishly devoted girls—a volatile situation even the normally oblivious Jules cannot ignore. And when an escape disguised as betrayal threatens to crush Baby's spirit, she will ultimately realize that the power of salvation rests in her hands alone.

About the Author

Heather O'Neill is a contributor to This American Life, and her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Montreal, Canada.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

LFG, April 22, 2014 (view all comments by LFG)
I found this novel after hearing a story by Heather O'Neill on This American Life and I enjoyed it so much I looked her up and ordered her book right away. I loved Lullabies so much from the start, I couldn't put it down. It's a gorgeous and heart-wrenching novel set within the eyes of an innocent and fiercely imaginative child on the brink of adulthood. O'Neill's language overflows with the most beautiful and unique smilies and metaphors which capture and enhance the vivid atmosphere of life on the streets of Montreal for a child who still believes in magic. Like this: "In the window, the mood had made itself so tiny it was just a hole in the elbow of a black sweater."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Sassalicious, June 16, 2010 (view all comments by Sassalicious)
Authentic and captivating, I read it all in one day, just couldn't put it down! Heather really captures the essence of that time in life where we are transitioning from childhood to adulthood with a gut wrenching and funny delivery. There are several beautiful gems of insight throughout the book (I felt like I was on a treasure hunt!). Another takeaway I got was how we assimilate the world around us, especially during our formative years... a good read for parents and teenagers alike.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
Carmen Bond, June 18, 2009 (view all comments by Carmen Bond)
The most amazing thing about this book was that it was told through the eyes of a thirteen year old and it REALLY sincerely felt like the actual thought process of a person that age. I picked up this book after reading "The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog," a series of case studies of abused and neglected children. There was such a ring of truth about "Lullabies" based on the revelations of that nonfiction piece.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060875077
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Oneill, Heather
Author:
O'Neill, Heather
Author:
by Heather ONeill
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20061017
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.80x5.72x.85 in. .60 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Used Hardcover $1.95
  2. A Wind in the Door
    Used Trade Paper $3.95
  3. The Remains of the Day
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  5. The Assassination Bureau, Ltd. Used Mass Market $3.95
  6. The Birth House (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $4.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Lullabies for Little Criminals (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060875077 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Baby (her given name) is thirteen with no mother and a heroin-addicted father — not a feel-good kind of storyline. Lullabies for Little Criminals is a humorous and nerve-racking story. I disliked every character in the novel at some point, but O'Neill made me care about these sad people, and want to find out if they could create decent lives. This is O'Neill's first novel, and to her credit, she wrote about unpleasant themes without pity; Baby is fragile, but with the will and smarts to survive.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her debut novel, This American Life contributor O'Neill offers a narrator, Baby, coming of age in Montreal just before her 12th birthday. Her mother is long dead. Her father, Jules, is a junkie who shuttles her from crumbling hotels to rotting apartments, his short-term work or moneymaking schemes always undermined by his rage and paranoia. Baby tries to screen out the bad parts by hanging out at the community center and in other kids' apartments, by focusing on school when she can and by taking mushrooms and the like. (She finds sex mostly painful.) Stints in foster care, family services and juvenile detention ('nostalgia could kill you there') usually end in Jules's return and his increasingly erratic behavior. Baby's intelligence and self-awareness can't protect her from parental and kid-on-kid violence, or from the seductive power of being desired by Alphonse, a charismatic predator, on the one hand, and by Xavier, an idealistic classmate, on the other. When her lives collide, Baby faces choices she is not equipped to make. O'Neill's vivid prose owes a debt to Donna Tartt's The Little Friend; the plot has a staccato feel that's appropriate but that doesn't coalesce. Baby's precocious introspection, however, feels pitch perfect, and the book's final pages are tear-jerkingly effective." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "O'Neill somehow infuses her troubling story with a kind of heartbreaking innocence... O'Neill is a wonderful stylist... and the voice she has created for Baby is original and altogether captivating."
"Synopsis" by ,

A gritty, heart-wrenching novel about bruised innocence on the city's feral streets—the remarkable debut of a stunning literary talent

Heather O'Neill dazzles with a first novel of extraordinary prescience and power, a subtly understated yet searingly effective story of a young life on the streets—and the strength, wits, and luck necessary for survival.

At thirteen, Baby vacillates between childhood comforts and adult temptation: still young enough to drag her dolls around in a vinyl suitcase yet old enough to know more than she should about urban cruelties. Motherless, she lives with her father, Jules, who takes better care of his heroin habit than he does of his daughter. Baby's gift is a genius for spinning stories and for cherishing the small crumbs of happiness that fall into her lap. But her blossoming beauty has captured the attention of a charismatic and dangerous local pimp who runs an army of sad, slavishly devoted girls—a volatile situation even the normally oblivious Jules cannot ignore. And when an escape disguised as betrayal threatens to crush Baby's spirit, she will ultimately realize that the power of salvation rests in her hands alone.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.