Lullabies for Little Criminals - Heather O'Neill

Well, for a depressing story about child prostitution and heroin use, Lullabies for Little Criminals left me feeling pretty good. I read this one in two sittings.

O'Neill does an excellent job of capturing the voice of her child narrator, Baby. It's all about consistency. I often find that when I'm reading a novel narrated by a child and written by an adult, that the child's perspective is sometimes lost, especially during more descriptive sections. While reading this novel however, I felt I was listening to a twelve year old throughout. From dialogue, to inner feelings, to descriptive paragraphs, Baby's personality dominated the story.

I really enjoyed O'Neill's writing overall. There are tons of great lines and, of course, my favourite ones are about libraries and reading.

In this scene, Baby is sending self defense vibes to her unfortunate friend, Linus, who is about to get beat up.

"I knew that the trick to save yourself from this type of situation was to act totally crazy; to act fearless, like you would try to poke one of their eyes our with a library card if they came any closer." (O'Neill 36)

I'll have to remember this tip myself; I have three different library cards in my wallet, who knew I could use them as protection!

Here Baby describes the one thing she knows about her mother:

"All I knew was that sometimes she went to the library when she wanted to cry." (O'Neill 44)

Sometimes the library is so quiet that I feel like I'm all alone surrounded my many people.

Finally, I loved this passage about how reading makes Baby feel.

"I had always like reading, but lately I had started reading in a different kind of way. When I opened a book now, I was seized with desperation. I felt as if I was madly in love. It was as if I were in a confession booth and the characters in the book were on the other side telling me their most intimate secrets. When I read, I was a philosopher and it was up to me to figure out the meaning of things. Reading made me feel as if I were the center of the universe." (O'Neill 195)


I would definitely pick this one up!

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