Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa

This book was a departure from my usual fare. The premise sounded good. A teenage girl from a rougher part of New Orleans is living a depressing home life. She and her brother get mixed up with a 'religious' fellow that turns into a dangerous situation. Sounds interesting, sounds current, sure I'll bite, I'll read it.
What Tusa does well with this story is describe. You forget that this story was written by a man, you really see what life is like for this teenage girl. Unfortunately, I just kept waiting for the story to happen. I wanted to find a reason to like this girl, I didn't. Haley's life is pretty miserable and she doesn't help her situation. Something that caught my attention was the need Haley had to blame God for everything. This is a common misnomer of who God is. People will tell God, 'My life sucks, do something' - as if God is some wish granting genie in a bottle. He's not. He really and truly loves you and has a plan for your life, but you need to take some steps towards him (we have free will) and begin to line your life up with His will. I don't see Haley having any give this way. She keeps telling God to do something, but then continues to make poor choices and wonder in bewilderment why her.
I think Tusa has an interesting idea here, I just wanted to see it in fruition. The novel is short (more of a novella really) and has 3 distinct parts to it. I would love to see what would happen if he developed the story more in these 3 parts, or, took one of these parts and widened it out to make an arc.
Overall, I would say this story was dark, well described but I really didn't care about the characters to make it work, I would have loved to see some growth and development on Haley's part to make it worth reading.

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