O Canada: Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill
Baby is 12 and lives with her father, Jules, in Montreal. Jules and her mother had her when they were 15. In a lot of ways, they have grown up together. But Jules has a heroin problem and terrible lungs, so Baby is in and out of foster care with his hospital trips. As Baby grows up a little too fast, and Jules slips deeper into his various illnesses–landing Baby in a detention center. Once out, as things get worse, the now 13 year old has to enlist the attention of the neighborhood pimp in order to get some form of normal life… But it is only a matter of time before he starts wanting more than just hugs and kisses from Baby.
I picked up the audiobook version of this, and it was the 10th anniversary of the novel. So author Heather O’Neill had a little portion in the beginning where she introduced the novel. It was also my first completed audiobook in YEARS, so it was different to have someone read me a novel I might usually read. The voice of the narrator was sibilant, and while it seemed like that helped lend to the mind of Baby, it was also a little annoying.
I wanted to pick up Baby and hold her and tell her everything was going to be okay. But, I also found myself wanting to shake her a few times. I would have called Children’s Services on her father so many times. It was really sad to hear about the generalizations that seemed to come true, as it related to poor or unwanted children. I wish that at some point O’Neill would revisit the character and make things a little easier for her. I hope Baby grows up well and finds her inner happiness away from the grit and grime of Montreal.
I accidentally signed up for Audible, and I keep forgetting to disconnect it, so I’ve been getting audiobooks and I hope that the next audiobook I get is a little less depressing. It was a good story, but I felt like had I not been in the car on my never-ending commute, I would not have chosen to pick this up and complete it, I have a feeling I would have discarded it before halfway through. It’s depressing to think about a girl being forced into a life of prostitution do to her parents lack of maturity.
Challenges: Lullabies for Little Criminals satisfies the following challenges:
LEP Reading Challenge: 16. Audiobook