Title: The Talk Funny Girl
Author: Roland Merullo
Pub Date: August 2012
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Source: I received this from the publisher for my honest and sincere review
In one of the poorest parts of rural New Hampshire, teenage girls have been disappearing, snatched from back country roads, never to be seen alive again. For seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, the fear raised by these abductions is the backdrop to what she lives with her own home, every day. Marjorie has been raised by parents so intentionally isolated from normal society that they have developed their own dialect, a kind of mountain hybrid of English that displays both their ignorance of and disdain for the wider world. Marjorie is tormented by her classmates, who call her “The Talk-funny girl,” but as the nearby factory town sinks deeper into economic ruin and as her parents fall more completely under the influence of a sadistic cult leader, her options for escape dwindle. But then, thanks to a loving aunt, Marjorie is hired by a man, himself a victim of abuse, who is building what he calls “a cathedral,” right in the center of town.
Day by day, Marjorie’s skills as a stone worker increase, and so too does her intolerance for the bitter rules of her family life. Gradually, through exposure to the world beyond her parents’ wood cabin thanks to the kindness of her aunt and her boss, and an almost superhuman determination, she discovers what is lovable within herself. This new found confidence and self-esteem ultimately allows her to break free from the bleak life she has known, to find love, to start a family, and to try to heal her old, deep wounds without passing that pain on to her husband and children.
By turns darkly menacing and bright with love and resilience, The Talk-Funny Girl is the story of one young woman’s remarkable courage, a kind of road map for the healing of early abuse, and a testament to the power of kindness and love.
When I was contacted to review the book I really wanted to read it because it sounded really good and I honestly tried several times to pick it up to read but in the end i would put it back down.
Finally as we rolled in to 2013, I told myself that I really needed to sit down and finish this no matter what and that is what I did this past week. I haven’t been feeling very well these last few days so I took to curling up on the couch and reading.
Before sitting down to officially write my review I took to amazon to see what others thought and felt and sadly I feel as though I am in the minority. Everyone has loved the book and I think that’s what makes us all a special group because not everyone will love every book so with saying that please don’t leave me hate comments because we are all entitled to our opinions.
The book is about a young seventeen year old girl named Marjorie and she lives in a rural part of New Hampshire with her parents (who I honestly have to say I didn’t like from the get go. I thought the mother would encourage the father to punish Marjorie at any chance and for any reason) and she is basically isolated from the world and people until an outsider comes to town and reports to the authorities about this young girl (when she was 9 years old) so she goes to school. At first she is having a hard time but quickly makes up for lost time and is now finally in the same grade as her peers. Although she stands out with the way she looks and talks she makes the best out of it and becomes a hard worker.
As the story progresses we discover that Marjorie is being abused at home by her parents. Which honestly I have a hard time reading these kinds of books because I always wonder what kind of parents or people would purposely hurt someone who is defenceless? The abuse is stemmed from the Pastor at the church the family attends. He thinks its perfectly fine to douse them (taking them down to a river, no matter what time of the year, and pouring cold water on them), boying (forcing the girls to wear boy clothes and be treated like a boy for the punishment period) and facing (forcing them to wear a bag over their heads and being poked by people of the church) This was another part of the book that bothered me. I just think its wrong.
Almost at eighteen years old Marjorie is told she must find work to support her family. Her father is on a life time disability and her mother doesn’t work. Living in a small rural area work can be hard to find and more so for her because of her speaking which I found was another reason I couldn’t get into the book it was just to hard for me to read and enjoy. I find it hard to believe that she would speak like that because she started school at the age of 9. Why didn’t some teacher step in? She wasn’t that isolated. Plus no one in the community spoke like that, it was just her parents.
So despite the way she spoke she finds work with Sands (a stone mason) who has bought the old burned down church to rebuild and turn into a Cathedral. Throughout the book he teaches her the way and what to do. She is enjoying it. I think this is the one bright spot in her life. She soon finds out that there is more to Sands then meets the eye. In a good way. Sands knows her aunt Elaine and I honestly think he brought Sands into the community so that he could keep an eye on her. Making sure she was safe and okay. Which I loved and you could see her aunt was doing what was best and trying to help her.
Another worry for Marjorie was the fact that young girls were going missing in and around her area. I was always curious to who was involved and how it would play out throughout the book. Would Marjorie be a victim to that? I was honestly shocked when it was revealed because I had no idea as nothing lead to that person.
I wish I could have enjoyed the book more and I feel so bad writing a negative review but I honestly just didn’t enjoy it.
Have you read it? If so what did you think?
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3 thoughts on “Review #2/ The Talk Funny Girl”
Sorry you didn’t love this one Cindy. It sounds interesting – I can tell the issues it explores really bothered you.
Just from the summary it seemed like there was too much going on in this book. Sadly, I think there’s plenty of people out there who abuse children and torment people just because they have a nastiness inside of them. But I don’t think I’ll be getting this book anytime soon just because the subject matter doesn’t appeal to me (although it almost had me with the disappearing girls part, because I like a good thriller).
I didn’t enjoy the book either, although I read it all the way through. The author is adept in keeping the reader interested, but as the story evolved, it began to seem a little ridiculous to me that the mysterious and distant aunt elaine and her son (!) Sands were so good to the girl. Sands in particular was unbelievable to me. I could see his marriage to the talk-funny girl coming from early in the story, and I also had figured out that her parents were responsible for the missing girls, so I didn’t find the story overall to be suspenseful. And Aunt Elaine was like a fairy godmother – unbelievable character to me.