Lullabies for Little Criminals

Lullabies for Little Criminals

A Novel

Unknown - 2006 | 1st ed.
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Heather O'Neill's critically acclaimed debut novel, with a new introduction from the author to celebrate its ten-year anniversary

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 is 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 thing. 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 what the johns don't take he covets for himself. If Baby cannot learn to become her own salvation, his dark world threatens to claim her, body and soul.

Channeling the artlessly affecting voice of her thirteen-year-old heroine with extraordinary accuracy and power, Heather O'Neill's debut novel blew readers away when it was first published ten years ago. Now it's sure to capture its next decade of readers as Baby picks her pathway along the edge of the abyss to arrive at a place of redemption, and of love.

Featuring a new introduction from the author

CBC Canada reads winner, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction winner, Orange Prize for Fiction finalist, Governor General's Literary Award finalist, International Impac Dublin Literary Award finalist

Praise for Lullabies for Little Criminals

"A vivid portrait of life on skid row."--People

"A nuanced, endearing coming-of-age novel you won't want to miss."--Quill And Quire

"Vivid and poignant. . . . A deeply moving and troubling novel."--The Independent (London)

"O'Neill is a tragicomedienne par excellence. . . . You will not want to miss this tender depiction of some very mean streets."--Montreal Review of Books

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, [2006]
Edition: 1st ed.
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9780060875077
Branch Call Number: FIC O'Neil
Characteristics: 330, 16 pages


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Sep 26, 2017

Lullabies for Little Criminals written by Heather O’Neill, is a fiction novel about a young girl named Baby. Surrounded by a toxic social and family environment, Baby is left on her own and is forced to mature quickly. After being exposed to drugs and prostitution, Baby’s innocence quickly diminishes. I think this heartbreaking novel is one to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. I cried and laughed and then I cried again, all in the span of this book. Although I read this for a school assignment, this novel was a quick and very interesting read. I feel as though the ideas are so original, it helps add an incredibly captivating element. The themes of innocence, maturity, and loneliness are eye opening, and I think is perfect for anyone looking for a novel with dimension. I would rate this novel 4/5.
@TheCuriousBookworm of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

This is a hard book to write a review for, as I'm not really sure how I actually feel about it. I liked the book in terms of subject, how I was able to see the perspective and experiences of a young girl whose childhood was different from mine in almost every way possible. But at the same time, there were certain parts of this story that I wasn't sure if I should just ignore because they did add a crucial part to the plot of the story, or if I should be angry at them because it really is so wrong. But now I'm thinking that that is for each reader to decide on their own, and also the emotions the author was hoping we felt while reading. Props to Ms. O'Neill for creating such a thought-provoking, eye-opening story. I have a love/hate relationship with it. 3.5/5 Stars
- @activistreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Apr 04, 2017

It is a sad but still engrossing novel. I wonder just how much of it is autobiographical, as Heather did grow up with her father (and not her mother) in Montreal.

Mar 09, 2017

Kim T. recommended it, well written

Aug 27, 2016

Excellent book and very well written. Sometimes we judge people without knowing or understanding their life circumstances and why they are so different from what we think fits under the label "normal". This book povides an example of how quickly someone's life could change its direction and how difficult it could be to cope with those changes.

Feb 02, 2016

Once in a while a great book comes along that you will remember long after having read it. This happens to be one of those rare books.

There are many passages that I found moving and if read it with a highlighter it would be almost completely marked.

The story in the book seems to reflect the author's childhood. Her writings of the bleak situation are moving and it is sad to think that any child has to live like that but it is a reality for some.

Sep 27, 2015

Heather O'Neill is a very good writer. This book is very sad and thought provoking. Should be, if not already, on the reading list for social work courses.

mmokrz01 Jun 29, 2015

I love, love, love this book! One of my favorites! ... I recommend it to everyone.

kbo90 Mar 14, 2015 good. Not to be missed.

Dec 02, 2014

I liked the depiction of underdog class of dishwashers and street bums in downtown Montreal. It is gritty and merciless; however, the protagonist and her father show that people are more than the sum of their circumstances.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 17, 2014

As 12-year-old Baby explains, her name is ironic: “It didn’t mean you were innocent at all. It meant you were cool and gorgeous.” Although Baby is experienced enough to realize “chocolate milk” is her father’s code for heroin and strippers aren’t the fictional mermaid creatures she once thought they were, she is innocent enough to live happily in squalor in the red-light district of 1980s Montreal. However, with puberty, Baby’s world becomes increasingly complicated. On the surface a disturbing story, Baby’s uplifting spirit overpowers entirely. Stunningly well written.

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Mar 04, 2008

Suddenly I realized that I wanted everything to be as it was when I was younger. When you're young enough, you don't know that you live in a cheap lousy apartment. A cracked chair is nothing other than a chair. A dandelion growing out of a crack in the sidewalk outside your front door is a garden. You could believe that a song your parent was singing in the evening was the most tragic opera in the world. It never occurs to you when you are very young to need something other than what your parents have to offer you.

Mar 04, 2008

No matter how scuzzy and crazy their parents are, kids still try to make them feel good about themselves.

Mar 04, 2008

I don't know why I was upset about not being an adult. It was right around the corner. Becoming a child again is what is impossible. That's what you have legitimate reason to be upset over. Childhood is the most valuable thing that's take away from you in life, if you think about it.

Mar 04, 2008

If you want a child to love you, then you should just go and hide in the closet for 3 or 4 hours. They get down on their knees and pray for you to return. That child will turn you into God. Lonely children probably wrote the bible.

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Apr 23, 2014

Lucas6 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 13, 2011

asampogna thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Feb 24, 2009

AMM thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Sep 13, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Sep 13, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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