Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls - Anissa Gray

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.

Anissa Gray
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.

6 comments:

  1. The cover is clever and with an originality that so many covers don't even bother attempting. A curious title, too. I can see why this one caught your eye!

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    1. In an era when so many book covers look like slight variations on whatever popular theme has been working, this one really did jump out at me. I hope the designer got credit for increasing interest in the book.

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  2. Interesting. I'll be reading this one for a blog tour soon. I wonder what I'll think? Whatever the book's content, the cover is definitely eye-catching!

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    1. Can't wait to hear what you think of it, Susan. It didn't much work for me, but that doesn't mean much.

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  3. I can see why that cover grabbed your attention! But the story itself does not sound like one I would like.

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    1. Very, vert predictable, Lark. About half way through, I could have probably outlined the rest of the book and come pretty close to what actually happened.

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