The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.
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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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
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!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anissa Gray was born and raised in western Michigan, where her father
After more than 20 years as a journalist, Anissa, a lifelong book lover and voracious reader, pursued fiction writing, applying her love of storytelling from the realm of real-life, newsworthy happenings to the events and encounters that shape our lives. Her first novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, will be published in 2019.