- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 12, 2006
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000E6TVPU
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Girls of Tender Age Audiobook – Abridged
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Top customer reviews
I read it in one sitting, and laughed out loud throughout the first half. I preferred the first half (her memories as a child, the family foibles, the charm and naivete of the 1950's), vs. the second half (more focused on the crime and the effect it had on her life), but loved the whole, nonetheless.
All in all, Tirone-Smith manages to walk a very fine line between funny and poignant, without ever becoming maudlin, schmaltzy, or judgmental. She also manages, in very few words, to flesh out a huge cast of characters, and make you feel like you know every single one of them.
My husband, a native of CT and about the same age as Tirone Smith, is reading this as I type, and seems equally enthralled. I'll now have to buy some more of her books. I truly didn't want this one to end.
Ms. Tirone Smith's older brother is autistic but nobody talks about that other than to say he's "retarded". She descibes in loving detail his eccentricities - his obsession with World War II and polka music, his aversion to loud noises. Without seeking pity, she describes how this disorder has a profound effect on the functioning of the family. (This book should be required reading for family therapist's. It does a great job of describing how a "dysfunctional" family organizes around a problem. However, it also shows how functional a "dysfunctional" family can be. Illustrating this point, there is an aside very late in the book in which she attends a support group for siblings of adult autistics. It's hillarious.)
The core element of the story is the rape and murder of a classmate, Irene. Ms. Tirone Smith recounts both the events of the murder but also looks at how her family and the town reacted to it. Later in life, she also realizes that she has repressed much of what has happened. She embarks on a journey to reconstruct the case, trial and execution.
All of this is set against the backdrop of a Catholic/ethnic Hartford neighborhood in the 1950's. The story is told in loving detail and can be appreciated on so many levels. (Also, don't skip the "Notes" at the end, they include a recipe for Pinapple Cream Pie.) THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING BOOK!!!
I live in Connecticut and altho not a native I'm familiar with the area the author writes about because I attended Trinity College. I grew up at the same time as the author and in similar circumstances. Life was simple and safe. We respected our elders and didn't question things that much.
I liked the way she put in short chapters about the life of the murderer. That added to the suspense.
This book was used as an example of an autobiography that described a horrendous crime but was, nevertheless, believable in every detail, so I bought it. Because it is an autobiography, the reader is introduced to the author's family; her autistic brother, beautiful but bitter mother, her self-sacrificing father, and others. We all have quirky relatives so we smile and relate. I was especially moved by the way Ms. Tirone Smith accepted her brother for who he was and missed his company when they were separated. (One generation's normal is another's disfunctional.)
The author went back to discover the truth about what happened to Irene, her family, and her murderer. We are introduced early in the book to the perpetrator, but only incidentally. The book is an easy read, full of pathos. It is good Irene's short life is acknowledged this way. When the author found him, Irene's brother thought no one remembered her. No one who reads this book will ever forget her.