Adeline Dieudonné's debut novel is a dimly shimmering diorama that frames adolescence as a crucible of intimidation, tumult, survivalism, and rage. Equipped with a serrated sense of humor, Real Life captures a young girl's tooth-and-nail emancipation from the noxious, male-dominated bubble into which she was born, ratcheting up the urgency on every page. A gutsy, glorious sidewinder of a book. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
A young girl grows up surrounded by violence and terror. Her only solace is figuring out how to help her beloved younger brother after a terrible accident upends their lives. Our unnamed heroine is intelligent, resourceful, and fiercely independent, and the first half of the book reminded me of Swamplandia! But the second half is like nothing I've ever read before. This dark, feminist thrill ride has stayed with me for months, and is definitely my favorite book of the year. Recommended By Amy W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
At home there are four bedrooms: one for her, one for her little brother Sam, one for her parents, and one for the carcasses. Her father is a big game hunter, a powerful predator, and her mother is submissive to her violent husband's demands. The young narrator spends the days with Sam, playing in the shells of cars dumped for scrap and listening out for the melody of the ice-cream truck, until a brutal accident shatters their world. The uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonn wields flashes of brilliance as she brings her characters to life in a world that is both dark and sensual. This breathtaking debut is a sharp and funny coming-of-age tale in which reality and fantasy collide.