Starred Review. In spare yet hypnotic prose, Moore (One Last Look) examines the bond between a young psychiatrist and a mentally ill patient in her devastating sixth novel, set at an upstate New York federal women's prison. Sloatsburg Correctional Institution, a former sanitarium on the west bank of the Hudson, is dangerous, understaffed, underfinanced and overwhelmingly grim. The place epitomizes what's wrong with our nation's prison system and stands as a warning about our growing mental health crisis. Moore deftly shifts perspective among her principal characters—Dr. Louise Forrest, Sloatsburg's psychiatry chief; Helen Nash, a suicidal inmate who's been convicted of killing her children; Capt. Henry "Ike" Bradshaw, a corrections officer who's in love with Louise; and Angie Mills, a Hollywood actress (and Louise's ex-husband's girlfriend), whom Helen believes is her long-lost sister—as the action hurtles to an oddly satisfying resolution. Reading this heartbreaker is like watching a train wreck while dialing for help on your cellphone. You can't turn away. 75,000 printing; author tour. (May)
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Set in a womens prison on the Hudson River, Moores sixth novel chronicles the aftermath of a highly publicized murder and its impact on four intertwined lives. The story is told in the alternating voices of Helen, who has long suffered terrifying schizophrenic hallucinations and is serving a life sentence for killing her two small children; Helens psychiatrist, a single mother who came to work at the prison out of guilt over a patients suicide; a corrections officer who becomes involved with the psychiatrist; and an ambitious Hollywood star whom Helen believes to be her sister. Moore gradually probes Helens psychosis to its horrifying origins, while also delivering a nuanced and devastating account of the fights, rapes, and alliances built from necessity that constitute prison life.
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I read this after Gone Girl, based on recommendation. It's OK but not as good as Gone Girl; the large number of inmates in the prison confused me. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Teri
The characters in Susanna Moore's novel "The Big Girls" are pitiful, but not likeable. Moore never finds anything sympathetic in their personalities despite all the... Read morePublished on June 3, 2013 by elizabeth
A mesmerizing book by the author of "In The Cut." Like "In The Cut," "The Big Girls" uses spare, unembellished language to describe intensely emotional events. Read morePublished on July 24, 2012 by Victoria M. Pond
THE BIG GIRLS is not a novel about overweight women. It's a novel about life in the "Big House." You know -- prison. A women's prison, to be more specific. Read morePublished on October 10, 2011 by Eric K.
3 main voices are alternately heard from a women's prison, with a 4th voice coming from Hollywood. The prison voices: Dr Louise Forrest-the newly hired psychiatrist, one of her... Read morePublished on July 3, 2010 by bookloverintexas
This story is good, but tends to get a bit confusing. The author uses the characters different points of view randomly and not always clearly. Its just "ok" to me.Published on November 2, 2008 by M. Isakower
A fascinating story! At first I was a little confused about the quick and unannounced swith from one narrator to the next, especially when new ones were added. Read morePublished on September 12, 2008 by Lori Anderson
The Big Girls weaves the stories of several members of the prison system and their personal relations in a story chock full of drama and personal trials. Read morePublished on June 18, 2008 by Armchair Interviews
Each of the characters which had narrations in this story all had their own distinct voices and points of views. Read morePublished on February 15, 2008 by Gary Kolb