Lullabies for Little Criminals: A Novel

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Fiction - 368 pages
39 Reviews

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

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
17
4 stars
12
3 stars
7
2 stars
3
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

This is the story of Baby, 12 years old at the start of the book and barely 14 at the end of it. Her father and mother were only 15 when she was born and her mother died when Baby was a baby. Her ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LibraryCin - LibraryThing

Baby is 11-13 years old during the events in the book, and her dad, Jules, has raised her since her mom died when she was 16 (both her parents were 15 when Baby was born). Although Jules does seem to ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

HEATHER O’NEILL is a novelist, short-story writer and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and Daydreams of Angels, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in two consecutive years, and has won CBC Canada Reads, the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Danuta Gleed Award. Born and raised in Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter.

Bibliographic information