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Crooked Little Heart: A Novel Paperback – May 18, 1998

3.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At 13, Rosie plays a gangly, pigeon-toed second fiddle to her juicy, sexy friend Simone. The two are junior tennis champs who often cart home trophies. But driven by the gnawing fear that she's a loser, Rosie starts to cheat. Meantime, boy-crazy Simone dabbles in off-court disaster. Up in the bleachers a weird loner named Luther obsessively follows Rosie's games, while at home her mother wrestles her own demons. Anne Lamott (Operating Instructions) has turned in a fair depiction of the blood and bones of adolescence that's thankfully leavened by sharp humor and transcendent moments. The novel is uneven and heavy-handed at times, but often rewarding. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA. Some girls, like Rosie's friend and doubles partner on the Northern California tennis circuit, enter adolescence with young womanly grace and appeal; others?like Rosie?find the onset of metamorphosing body and questionable social status fraught with a seemingly endless string of bad days. Lamott has a keen ear and reportorial skill for this sort of age-and-gender-driven angst. She embues Rosie's mother and adult friends with that same understanding. Although they have problems of their own, but they provide Rosie with admirable support that encourages her maturation rather than suffocating her with overwhelming concern. Interestingly, this novel features a great female tennis player who deals with her own cheating, a similar situation to that found in Marcia Byalick's YA novel, It's a Matter of Trust (Browndeer, 1995). Both well-written books speak to readers who have little interest in tennis while providing those who love the game with some lively scenes of the sport. Older girls will enjoy Lamott's newest offering, and may well wax envious at Rosie's family's understanding. That her 14-year-old friend is less lucky in the end, while seemingly having the better draw at the outset, lends a fairy-tale moral quality that embellishes the whole, rather than detracting from its power.?Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (May 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385491808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385491808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In my other reveiw of "Rosie", the prequel to this book, I was rather hard on Lamott. Her non fiction, Travelling Mercies, Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, is so compassionate, witty, and funny, that it is hard to believe that she wrote Rosie and Hard Laughter. This book is finally the work of fiction I believed that she could produce.
It follows the story of Rosie during the summer of her 13th year, and trials and tribulations that are realistic and engaging. Although the focus on tennis was a little too detailed and technical, the rest of the story is wrapped around it in tenderness and diverts the focus from that aspect.
Although somewhat similar to Nabokov's Lolita in theme, this book explores in full the lives of each main character. You can more clearly see the effects of the events that occurred in Rosie, and they are painted more brilliantly and lovingly.
The characters are easy to identify with. There's Rae who weaves beautiful tapestries with junk yarn, but seems to want to do the same with the junky men in her lives. There's Rosie who lives in frustrated teenage self-doubt. There's Elizabeth, who sinks and struggles and is, all in all, extremely irritating. Then, there's Luthor, the Steppenwolf of the story, who is dark and scary and mysterious, but has insight that Rosie desperately needs.
You will find in reading this that the details of daily life are irresistably and eloquently captured - the feeling of laying with your lover knees bent into knees, the shine of dust particles in the light of the window, the fight that explodes and dissipates and the feeling of relief when love comes again.
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Format: Paperback
I re-read this book recently and was pleased to find that I wasn't wrong about it the first time: it's wonderful, just as satisfying as any of the others, although I am partial to each new book as it arrives, like a gorgeous newborn. I didn't read Crooked Little Heart, I absorbed it. I fell in love with Rae and Lank -- their love story is one of the most poignant ones I have ever read. I know they will end up together. I just know it. I am dying to know more about Rae, actually. Will James ever learn to dress? Will any of us? Keep it up, Anne.
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Format: Paperback
After a slow start, I gradually fell in like with the writing style and people in this coming-of-age novel. I say "in like" because I have discovered I'm not overly partial to character-driven novels. Still, Lamott writes gorgeous descriptive sentences and uses lovely similes. Her grasp on the dynamics of a blended family and the social pressures on modern teenage girls seems effortless and without artifice.

It's a nice piece of work and well worth reading. It's just not to my taste.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
In the six months since I read CLH, I have thought of pieces of it hundreds of times. I think Anne Lamott is an amazing writer, one of the best contemporary American writers we have, along with Fred Chappell, Louise Erdrich, Kaye Gibbons, and Lee Smith, to name a few. I think with any piece of fiction the reader must be willing to enter the author's constructed world on their terms. I loved the title of CLH and wanted to know all that lay behind it. Also, I knew I liked Lamott's writing from some of her nonfiction. So, I kept going even though it took me several chapters to become fully engaged in the story. I find so much of her imagery and metaphor incredible that even without caring about tennis at all, I wanted to keep going. Plus, I trusted her to take me somewhere worthwhile. And she did. I love that Luther tells Rosie, You're not a cheater. You're someone who cheated. I saw so much compassion and honesty in that exchange. I think it's what the book was written for, and that it is more than enough to justify the story's length. Another of my favorite lines is also near the end, where Rosie tells Elizabeth, We're not like a real family, we're like some family you'd buy at a garage sale. (This may not be exact, I do not have the book with me). By that time, you realize that Lamott is saying most real families are that way, and that's the beauty of the thing--along with the fact that Rosie as an adolescent is not yet fully aware of how much of life really is like something you get at a garage sale and make do with and come to love devotedly.
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Format: Paperback
The novel, Crooked Little Heart, by Anne Lamott, revolves around a main character named Rosie who is a teenager. Rosie lives with her mother, who is a recovering alcoholic and her stepfather. She has a best friend named Simone who is her exact opposite and together, they play tennis and they live in the Bay Area. Rosie also deals with a man named Luther who has an obsession for her. I really enjoyed reading this book. On a scale of one to ten, I would give it a nine. I liked this book because the author narrated with different characters so that the reader got a different perspective on each obstacle and event. Right away I was into the book, but towards the middle I lost interest for about ten pages. For a while the author began to discuss things that seemed to have absolutely no relevance to the current story line. The novel was a medium challenge for me. I found the vocabulary to be rather adult and sometimes the author made references to things that I didn't know about. Overall, most people my age could handle this easily without much trouble and it wasn't too hard or old for me. Something that people might have difficultiy with in this book were the issues it dealt with regarding Rosie's mother alcoholism or her emotional problems. To get through these difficulties they could read it with someone so that they could discuss the confusion that they had with reading it, and talk about things that bothered them.
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