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A thought provoking book about live and family. The choices that no one should have to make. The people in this book tried some successfully to change. Others not so successful. Detroit and music scene in the 1960½
 
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shazjhb | 2 outras críticas | Jun 24, 2023 |
This novel runs the gamut of emotions in a tale of familial relationships.
 
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bookwyrmm | 2 outras críticas | May 23, 2023 |
Well intentioned. Are all men weak or angry?
 
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cathy.lemann | 34 outras críticas | Mar 21, 2023 |
This book is so poignant and well-written. The plot is driving and the characters are flawed but still likeable and realistic.
 
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ALeighPete | 34 outras críticas | Mar 10, 2023 |
*I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.*

I thought about life, the varied lengths of it and the many ways we can spend it.

This book is really about life and all the strange and messy ways it can be. We get to follow one ordinary black American family from early 1960s to early 1990s. Though the main premise of the book, Oz disappearing into thin air, was rather extraordinary, the family's story stood out to me as rather ordinary. The characters were alive and relatable. It's a lot about living with guilt and our inability to escape our past and our selves. It's also about all the weird impulses that drive our actions sometimes and affect not only our lives, but also the lives of other people around us. But it's also about resilience and love and being able to keep on keeping on and doing the second best thing and taking it from there. Overall it left me with a very positive feeling - Life is a gift and it's worth living through and through.

I liked the writing, the authentic language and the look from the black American perspective as I have mostly read white American authors. I appreciate the research put into it and I believe it's a great historical fiction on that particular time and space, featuring such issues as the Great Migration, 1967 riots in Detroit, Vietnam war, AIDS epidemics, and LGBT rights.

The jumping back and forth in time and between POVs was a bit disturbing. There were a few times I confused Deborah's and Trinity's stories - I was reading Deborah's POV and thinking it was Trinity's until something did not match. I'd liked to read more about Trinity's life. I had a feeling we just had a little glimpse into her story.½
 
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dacejav | 2 outras críticas | Feb 20, 2023 |
4 of 5 stars
A story of a family who is struggling with all sorts of issues: incarceration, eating disorders, physical abuse, death of a loved one, estrangement. This ambitious book tackles all of these topics, and more.
It is a moving account of forgiveness.
Great debut novel.
 
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rmarcin | 34 outras críticas | Jan 18, 2022 |
Crises in an American Family

In Anissa Gray’s quite readable novel, we get to observe the dysfunction in an American family that for all appearances, prior to the start of the novel, had achieved the American dream. Althea and Proctor built a thriving business in their hometown, have young twin daughters, and had established a charity to help the community through hard times. Middle sister Viola has a Ph.D. in psychology, lives in Chicago, and is in a long-term relationship with another woman. Youngest of the sisters, until recently, had lived in New York and worked there as a designer before her divorce and death of her husband. She moved home to the family house in New River Junction, MI, to restore and improve it, and care for her ex-husband’s mother, Nai Nai. Joe, the sisters’ brother, lives nearby, where he is a minister, like his father had been.

When the novel opens, Althea and Proctor are in jail, awaiting sentencing for trading in food stamps, as well as pocketing charity contributions for their own good. Lillian finds herself caring for the daughters Kim and Baby Vi. What with their parents having bilked the town, people really in need of the money they gave, the girls find themselves treated as parish in school. While Baby Vi manages, Kim can’t and acts out in school and at home. Home now is with Lillian and Nai Nai. Lillian has asked Viola to return for the sentencing and to help.

However, Viola has her own problems. She has just blown up her relationship with Eva, and she’s bingeing and purging again, a condition she’s in treatment for and has been dealing with for years. Brother Joe, while not receiving much page time, always lurks in the background, memories of him and their father haunting all the sisters.

There’s a thread of abuse here, handed down from father to son. The father’s abuse drove Althea from home as a girl. The brother’s abuse has scarred Lillian, and to an extent Viola. From the time of the sentencing onward, what would appear to be the perfect family unravels in ways that force the sisters to address the traumas of their pasts, and those they currently face with the daughters of Althea and Proctor.

Gray has each of the sisters tell a part of the story in first person, with their own fill-in of the past, from chapter to chapter as she moves the story forward. Gray’s style, apart from a couple of warmup sentences from time to time, is effective in capturing the mood of the women, and more importantly, helping us understand their plight and raising your empathy for them. Because as readers move through this family saga of pain and joy, it will remind them of their own family dramas, perhaps not as wrought as this family’s, but there in the memory nonetheless. In this family, the Butler sisters and the next generation are all ravenous for peace, reconciliation, understanding, and love. And what they receive in the end isn’t perfect, nothing ever is, but it is a new start for each of them.
 
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write-review | 34 outras críticas | Nov 4, 2021 |
Crises in an American Family

In Anissa Gray’s quite readable novel, we get to observe the dysfunction in an American family that for all appearances, prior to the start of the novel, had achieved the American dream. Althea and Proctor built a thriving business in their hometown, have young twin daughters, and had established a charity to help the community through hard times. Middle sister Viola has a Ph.D. in psychology, lives in Chicago, and is in a long-term relationship with another woman. Youngest of the sisters, until recently, had lived in New York and worked there as a designer before her divorce and death of her husband. She moved home to the family house in New River Junction, MI, to restore and improve it, and care for her ex-husband’s mother, Nai Nai. Joe, the sisters’ brother, lives nearby, where he is a minister, like his father had been.

When the novel opens, Althea and Proctor are in jail, awaiting sentencing for trading in food stamps, as well as pocketing charity contributions for their own good. Lillian finds herself caring for the daughters Kim and Baby Vi. What with their parents having bilked the town, people really in need of the money they gave, the girls find themselves treated as parish in school. While Baby Vi manages, Kim can’t and acts out in school and at home. Home now is with Lillian and Nai Nai. Lillian has asked Viola to return for the sentencing and to help.

However, Viola has her own problems. She has just blown up her relationship with Eva, and she’s bingeing and purging again, a condition she’s in treatment for and has been dealing with for years. Brother Joe, while not receiving much page time, always lurks in the background, memories of him and their father haunting all the sisters.

There’s a thread of abuse here, handed down from father to son. The father’s abuse drove Althea from home as a girl. The brother’s abuse has scarred Lillian, and to an extent Viola. From the time of the sentencing onward, what would appear to be the perfect family unravels in ways that force the sisters to address the traumas of their pasts, and those they currently face with the daughters of Althea and Proctor.

Gray has each of the sisters tell a part of the story in first person, with their own fill-in of the past, from chapter to chapter as she moves the story forward. Gray’s style, apart from a couple of warmup sentences from time to time, is effective in capturing the mood of the women, and more importantly, helping us understand their plight and raising your empathy for them. Because as readers move through this family saga of pain and joy, it will remind them of their own family dramas, perhaps not as wrought as this family’s, but there in the memory nonetheless. In this family, the Butler sisters and the next generation are all ravenous for peace, reconciliation, understanding, and love. And what they receive in the end isn’t perfect, nothing ever is, but it is a new start for each of them.
 
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write-review | 34 outras críticas | Nov 4, 2021 |
Multiple perspectives on an extended family dealing with a lot of generational trauma and pain. A little scattered, but powerful.½
 
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bibliovermis | 34 outras críticas | Jun 7, 2021 |
This story is about a dysfunctional family - oldest daughter Althea and her husband are in jail, two other sisters, Viola and Lillian, and brother Joe are trying to deal with the ramifications, as well as take care of Althea's two daughters. I felt little emotional connection to any of these characters and found the book to be fairly boring.½
 
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flourgirl49 | 34 outras críticas | May 19, 2021 |
Thank you to Berkley Publishers for my advanced copy!

I found myself a little confused at the beginning differentiating the sisters but I quickly caught on and found myself enjoying this book.

You don't get too many details about the reason why the one sister is in prison but this this story is more about the circumstances brought on by poor choices.
 
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booksforbrunch | 34 outras críticas | May 5, 2021 |
Can we survive our families? Sometimes the legacy we have from family is crushing, leading to repeated patterns and damaging coping mechanisms. And when an already splintered family faces yet another blow, will they come together, fragile as they may be, or do they break completely? This is the question swirling through Anissa Gray's debut novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls.

The Butler family had a tough upbringing, each member shaped differently by their hard childhood. Oldest sister Althea stepped into the gap created by their mother's death and their angry and volatile father's absences caring for her younger siblings until she moved on to start her own family and a restaurant that was a community touchstone with husband Proctor. Now she and Proctor are in jail, arrested for fraud, guilty of taking donated charity money for themselves and illegally buying food stamps. Someone will have to care for Althea and Proctor's fifteen year old twin daughters, Kim and Baby Vi, who are struggling mightily with their family's fall from grace. Lillian, who has moved into their father's old house and is already taking care of her late ex-husband's elderly mother Nai-Nai, steps up but she is desperate for help from younger sister Viola and is equally as determined that the girls do not end up with brother Joe. Viola ignores the pleas from Lillian as long as she can, grappling as she is with her own demons, a floundering marriage and a recurrence of her bulimia.

The story is told in the first person from each of the sisters' perspectives and interleaved with letters from Proctor to Althea. As the sisters tell the story of what exactly happened that landed Althea and Proctor in jail and even further back in their pasts, it is clear that each of them continues to struggle with the legacy of that past. But as they reckon with their own festering hurts, the twins, Kim and Baby Vi, are floundering as well and the adults in their lives do not know how to best help them. Gray keeps some of the reasons behind the women's suffering vague, writing around the causes for much of the novel, ostensibly to increase tension. Why is Viola's marriage to Eva on the rocks? Why does Lillian have her ex-mother-in-law living with her? Why did Althea and Proctor do what they did? Choosing to use first person narration makes it hard to offer the answers to questions like these for the reader because the narrator already knows the answer but without enough forthcoming information, it's hard for the reader to get completely invested in the characters. The letters from Proctor to Althea help this a bit as he tries to exonerate her for his part in all of it, giving explanations of why he went along with her decisions. The letters are loving but also offer much needed truths and the reasons for everything else eventually come out. The explanations do feel anti-climactic though after being avoided for so long. Each of the women is fully fleshed out but seeing the rest of the characters only through their eyes, especially Kim and Baby Vi, makes these secondary characters less complex even though the escalating situation with the twins drives a lot of the actual action in the novel. Gray is an accomplished writer and the book has some beautiful language in it. This novel of healing and forgiveness, of family and need, of overcoming and hope offered an interesting book club discussion although I ultimately didn't connect with it emotionally as much as I think was intended.
 
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whitreidtan | 34 outras críticas | Dec 1, 2020 |
A novel of one Michigan family coming to terms with the aftermath of choices made by parents. Told in raw and vivid detail, we see how the daughters deal with both the past traumas and present loss of the community that once supported them. This debut novel speaks to how the deep bond between mothers and daughters both sustains and dominates simultaneously.
If you are a fan of the The Turner House and The Mothers, this one is for you.
 
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ShannonRose4 | 34 outras críticas | Sep 15, 2020 |
A novel of one Michigan family coming to terms with the aftermath of choices made by parents. Told in raw and vivid detail, we see how the daughters deal with both the past traumas and present loss of the community that once supported them. This debut novel speaks to how the deep bond between mothers and daughters both sustains and dominates simultaneously.
If you are a fan of the The Turner House and The Mothers, this one is for you.
 
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ShannonRose4 | 34 outras críticas | Sep 15, 2020 |
I should begin by explaining exactly how Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls came to my attention in the first place. The first books that you really see in my local library as you walk past the check-out desk is the section dedicated to “new books.” Most of the books on those shelves are shown spine-outward, but the flat surface on top of the actual shelving is used to display the covers of thirty or forty books. Any avid reader or library patron knows how book covers all tend to blend together because once a design trend catches on, the copycats are not far behind. So you can easily imagine just how much the cover of Hungry Girls jumped out at me as I approached the shelves. And before I knew it, the book was in my hands and would eventually be heading out the door with me. This may not be the most beautiful cover you’ve ever seen, but there’s no denying that it’s an eyecatcher. So let’s rate the cover a five-star cover.

But that’s not quite the case for the book itself. Hungry Girls is about the Butler family, a troubled family of four siblings (three girls and one boy) in which Althea, the oldest child ended up being a mother-figure to her siblings even though Joe and Lillian went to live with their father after their mother died. There are so many grudges between these four and their father, that you almost need an excel spreadsheet to keep up with all of them. But now they are all adults, their father is dead, and Althea and her husband Proctor have twin girls of their own. Still, the grudges live on, despite that the family now faces a new crisis that threatens finally to completely tear it apart.

Althea and Proctor have been arrested and are facing charges that could see them both locked up for a number of years. Someone will have to take care of their teenaged twins, but Viola and Lillian, neither of whom are much up to that task themselves, are not willing to let the girls be taken in by their brother Joe and his family. Too many overlapping grudges ever to let that happen. What does happen to the girls next, as they deal with their own insecurities and embarrassments at school, is not unexpected. The big question is whether or not the supposed adults in their family will be able to get their own insecurities and resentments under control in time to save the girls from themselves and the townspeople. This one is a race against the clock – almost literally, as it turns out.

Bottom Line: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is a well-crafted novel that holds few real surprises. Despite its predictability, though, this one is a sometimes interesting look at a family trying to pull itself together for the first time in its history – and it all has to be done before it is too late to stop the family’s youngest members from falling into the same traps that previous generations have been caught up in. Most memorable character: Nai Nai, the Chinese grandmother who lives with one of the Butler women.
 
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SamSattler | 34 outras críticas | Feb 22, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray is a poignant novel of healing and ultimately, new beginnings.

As older sister Althea and her husband Proctor Cochran await their prison transfers following their conviction and sentencing, sisters Viola and Lillian Butler come together to support their 15 year old nieces, Kim and Baby Vi. In the aftermath of their sister's and brother-in-law's fall from grace, they are unexpectedly confronted with the demons from their dysfunctional childhood. Lillian is living in the family's newly renovated home with her former grandmother in law and her nieces. She has good reason for her distress when older brother Joe suggests taking his nieces into his care since he abused her during their childhood. Viola left Michigan for Chicago where she lives with her wife, Eva. She has yet to tell her sisters she is suffering a relapse with her bulimia or that she and Eva have separated. Everything comes to a head as Kim and Baby Vi take the brunt of their parents' crimes from their close-knit community.

The three sisters' and their brother Joe's childhood fractured following their mother's unexpected death. Althea was left to raise her younger siblings who also move in with her and Proctor married when their abusive father became a traveling preacher. Viola, Lillian and Joe eventually move back in with their father but when Viola leaves for college, Joe begins abusing Lillian while he cares for her during their father's absences. In the present, they are attempting to keep their keep their splintered family together as Althea and Proctor begin their sentences for their crimes.

Lillian tries to keep her anxiety under control through her OCD-like routines. She cares for her ex-husband's grandmother while also raising her nieces. Lillian is completely out of her depth taking care of Kim and Baby Vi. Kim is acting out in school and has become a disciplinary problem as she lashes out at teachers and classmates. Baby Vi is quiet and appears to be taking her new situation in stride but Lillian fails to notice that all is not right with her niece.

Viola has always been there for her sisters, but due to her overwhelming stress, she is lying to her loved ones as she tries to get her bulimia under control. She is also hoping to repair her troubled marriage, but Eva has not been receptive to her overtures. Despite her training as a therapist, Viola is ill-equipped to care for Baby Vi and Kim full-time. As her well-intentioned suggestions backfire, her confidence nose-dives as her nieces' struggles intensify. Viola is also reluctant to agree to Althea's and Lillian's requests to make sure Joe does not gain custody of the girls.

As she awaits her transfer to federal prison, Althea struggles to accept responsibility for her role in her and Proctor's downfall. She is also dealing with her anger toward Kim and her refusal to see her daughters is having an adverse effect on them. It is not until Proctor is honest with her about her behavior that she begins to realize how her choices and actions have harmed their girls and ultimately, their family.

Alternating between the sisters' points of view, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is an emotionally compelling portrait of a family in crisis. Viola, Lillian, Kim and Baby Vi are extremely sympathetic characters whose struggles will resonate with readers. Althea is hard to like or empathize with due to her inability to see or accept her faults. As the story reaches a crisis point, Anissa Gray brings the novel to a deeply affecting and uplifting conclusion. A heartfelt debut that I found impossible to put down and highly recommend.
 
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kbranfield | 34 outras críticas | Feb 3, 2020 |
3.5/5 ⭐
Holy Trauma Alert.
This is a heavy bucket of dysfunction- a very real & raw insight into the lives of the Butler family.

Althea & her husband Proctor are on trial.
Althea’s sisters rally around her, but as the family comes together, cracks emerge in their relationships, old secrets surface, & people seek closure in issues that have long been buried in their past.
Anissa Gray takes us through the complicated issues of a dysfunctional family & shows us how childhood trauma can shape who we become.

Put simply, Ive worked in some pretty rough areas of Community Services, with a lot of exposure to many individuals with some extreme stories – & I have a love for discussing the effects of trauma. I don’t think these topics are discussed enough & it is a lot easier to read about these issues in a fictional setting compared to real life examples. Needless to say I loved this story & the insight we get into each character’s perspective, hearing what they have endured & how they cope.
However, I didn’t quite connect with it in the same way I have with other books with similar themes, & I had big issues with slow start. I also listened to this via Libro.fm & I really didn’t like one of the narrator’s. I also kept falling asleep or getting distracted & losing my spot.
Some parts really needed to be read visually in my opinion, there are multiple chapters in the middle of the book that flip between characters & timelines; it was not easily discernible in the audio- I am going to assume in a print copy there was italics or something to set apart the past tense.
This is a very complex book that touches on many tough topics, so if you don’t like heavy, slow burn, character driven books – give it a miss; but if you DO love those elements then you definitely need to give this book a read. There is a lot to unpack & I think it would make an amazing book club discussion read.⁣

My full review will be up on my blog later this week =)

Blog / Insta / Twitter
 
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readwithwine | 34 outras críticas | Feb 3, 2020 |
Althea Butler-Cochran is the oldest of three sisters and has even become the substitute matriarch. Things were not always easy when the girls were growing up, but they did make it in life. Although they made a success of their lives, deep pain had been buried. Althea is married to Proctor and they have two teenage daughters. A horrible scandal occurs and Althea and Proctor are arrested for embezzlement, tried and sentenced to prison.

Her sisters Lillian and Viola must step up and decide who will care for Althea's and Proctor's daughters. The girls, Baby V and Kim, truly struggle when their parents are pulled away from them.

This story is delivered in three first-person points of view, from the perspectives of Althea, Viola and Lillian. As each tell their own stories it becomes quite an emotional tale. Not only is the present explored, but the past comes into play quite a bit. Quite obviously, with Althea being locked up, she is experiencing trials. Viola is a psychologist, so has made it through. However, she is struggling in her relationship. Then there is Lillian, who has taken in Baby V and Kim. She needs help, but that proves to be very difficult for her.

Then a childhood trauma is explored, and this affects what might happen to the girls if Lillian and Viola are unable to care for them. What the girls go through, especially Kim, is nothing less than tragic. This debut novel is a shocking portrayal of what could happen in a family, and proved to be an moving and excellent read. I look forward to following Anissa Gray.

Many thanks to Berkley Publishing and to Edelweiss for this ARC for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
 
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RobinLovesReading | 34 outras críticas | Oct 25, 2019 |
Although interesting this book moved along pretty slow. 3 Sisters and their brother left to raise themselves when their mother dies very young unexpectedly. This book covers a number of social issues/taboos, mental and physical abuse, eating disorders and more. The father unable to handle the raising of his widowed famiily chooses to rely on the oldest to raise her siblings.
 
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CathyM78 | 34 outras críticas | Sep 5, 2019 |
Althea and her husband are sent to jail after skimming money from their charity. The fallout of this affects their twin daughters and Althea’s two sisters, Viola and Lillian. Viola struggles with an eating disorder and Lillian has long buried abuses struggling to the surface despite her denial. The result is a tense novel, a study of women’s strength and the ripple effect of pain and suffering. The writing keeps a quick pace and pulls the reader into the family drama. I would recommend, though it felt like we only skimmed the surface of character motivations, which kept it from becoming a favorite for me.
 
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bookworm12 | 34 outras críticas | Sep 5, 2019 |
On the whole I liked this book, but I did think it might have tried to fit a few too many characters and one too many concerns into a fairly short book. The drama of a family torn apart by prison seemed enough without adding eating disorders into the mix, especially since the eating disorders are dealt with quickly and mostly off screen. Why put it in the book if it isn't going to be important? The same could be said of the conflict between Kim and her family, especially regarding her culpability in their arrests. It gets drawn out a few times, but never really examined enough to feel satisfying. Then there's the domestic abuse plot. There's just not enough time to give any of these pieces time to shine. I appreciated that the book ended on an upbeat note, but since so much is skimmed over I didn't really feel that it was earned. That said, I loved how the characters were presented and I always appreciate a family in turmoil that manages to come together in the end.½
 
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duchessjlh | 34 outras críticas | Jun 30, 2019 |
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Even healthy and happy families are complicated and complex. This is especially true with mother and daughter relationships, and the connections between sisters. In this novel, Gray examines the darker aspects of the relationship between three sisters as they struggle to make peace with a turbulent past.

The reader must watch as they slowly, and often painfully, accept a new set of equally challenging circumstances, and learn to cope with personal demons, while trying to do what is best for the next generation.

Althea helped to raise her younger siblings, often taking the brunt of their abusive father’s righteous wrath. Now, as adults, Althea and her husband, Procter, are facing prison time, which means their twin daughters, Kim and Baby Vi, are staying with Althea’s sister, Lillian.

Lillian, a widow, who is already taking care of her aging former mother-in-law, is at a loss about how to deal Kim’s problems. Lillian is haunted by her own experience with abuse, while Viola, on a break from her long-term girlfriend, is struggling to keep her eating disorder at bay.

This novel is a poignant, yet powerful debut novel. The story alternates between the first- person narrative of the three sisters, as they each share their own journey from the past to the present.

This technique is especially effective here, as the reader can see the same set of events from different perspectives. Each sister endured a traumatic childhood, and is coping in her own individual way, while harboring unique memories, fears, and resentments.

However, Lillian and Viola rise to the occasion when they become responsible for their nieces, while Althea must take responsibility for her actions, and accept the reality of her own proclivities and shortcomings.

The future offers hope, as they all begin the journey towards forgiveness, acceptance, and healing, not only as individuals, but as strong women, mothers, daughters, sisters and family.

Even though the story lags in a few spots, it is realistic, raw, and unflinchingly emotional, but above all, hopeful. I know I will think of these characters often and wish them well.

A very solid and personal debut novel!
2 vote
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gpangel | 34 outras críticas | Jun 7, 2019 |
Girls and women hunger for many things. There is the universal need for physical nourishment, and then, there is the hunger for love, protection, caring, belonging and other needs often left unspoken. The understanding that this is the theme of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray comes slowly. The book is an impressive debut, and I look forward to seeing what Anissa Gray writes next.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/05/the-care-and-feeding-of-ravenously.html

Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read Program.
 
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njmom3 | 34 outras críticas | May 27, 2019 |
The story is told from the perspective of Althea and her sisters, we see the struggles the family face and the choices that got them to where they are today. I really appreciated the different points of view, but there were a few times when I had to flip to the beginning of the chapter to see who was narrating at that point. After reading the author note, I saw this was meant to be a story primarily about Viola, but then she begins to flesh out the sisterÛªs stories as well. I think that every (female) character was so well written that to me this seemed to be more about family as a whole and less about one individual. Those that we love most are the ones that have the potential to cause the most hurt.

Note that I mentioned every female character was well written. I think this was done purposefully, but the story is told almost 100% from the female perspective (minus letters from Proctor to Althea while in jail), and that includes background information on each of the characters. The motivations of the men are less fleshed out.

I love that the author deals honestly with issues such as bulimia, abuse, and mental health.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and gave it 4 stars.

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
 
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wordswithrach | 34 outras críticas | May 2, 2019 |
Excellent book. Interesting family issues and issues around jail. I am not sure if I get Kim’s motivation. Well written and good read½
 
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shazjhb | 34 outras críticas | Apr 21, 2019 |