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Onion Girl

3.9 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: ST MARTINS PRESS * (1997)
  • ASIN: B000SI2SS6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After I finished "The Onion Girl" last night, I sat there feeling vaguely dissatisfied and tried to figure out why. I think it all comes down to what some other reviewers have pointed out: we've seen this before - numerous times and handled better than this.
DeLint's earlier books had a sense of wonder and delicacy both in his writing and in his portrayals of characters and Dreamlands/Otherlands. As you read, it felt as if the magical place he was talking about was not only real but that it could be fragile as well; it *was* real but only as long as you believed and DeLint was very good at making us believe. With this book, however, I didn't feel drawn in - more like bludgeoned. It reads along the lines of "You will believe in Newford and in the Dreamlands because I say so."
Characters in this book are not there so much to show as to tell which tends to rob the book of much of its possible emotion. We're told how wonderful Jilly is, we're told how much her friends are frightened for her or pulling for her to get better, but we're never shown it. We're surrounded by all these people who have supposedly pulled themselves up by their bootstraps or dealt with hard things in life but everyone reads the same regardless of their prior experiences. Wendy, positioned as a character with a normal (read: non-abusive) childhood, comes across no differently than Jilly or Sophie. We're told she has a hard time relating to the childhood Jilly experienced but it comes across like a line in a script read by an extremely poor actress. There is nothing to back up what we're being told to feel. Everyone is the same flat character with different names.
Raylene's "transformation" rings hollow. Her motivation in this story has essentially been payback.
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Format: Hardcover
In the Onion Girl, De Lint fans will find his usual superb writing and his interesting take on mythologies and urban fantasies; however, as a De Lint fan, be prepared to have the veil removed regarding the always cheerful, favorite character, Jilly.
New readers for De Lint are better off starting with books like Moonheart or The Little Country--they are a little more lighthearted and more descriptive of both De Lint's urban Newford and his spirit world. The Onion Girl is darker and relies more on past Newford characters and their experiences 'crossing over' into fantasy as well as their experiences with the spirits in our world.
As a longtime De Lint fan, this book is as enjoyable as always.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a fan of Charles de Lint and can't imagine actively disliking anything he writes, but I have to admit that this is not my favorite de Lint novel. Jilly Coppercorn has long been one of my favorite de Lint characters, but in The Onion Girl, de Lint tells me more than I wanted to know about Jilly. The magical veil is somehow ripped away, and I am face-to-face with a character I maybe don't like as much as I thought I did.
And, speaking of characters, there is an almost dizzying array of them and there were times when I had trouble keeping score. I didn't feel as though I got to know any of them in this novel -- there simply wasn't enough space for anyone in this pantheon to fully develop. I think that the lack of character development contributed to a sense of disbelief and some real confusion about the actions of some of the characters, especially Wendy and Raylene.
In spite of all of this, I did enjoy the book and I remain an avid fan of Charles de Lint, all of his people - fairie and otherwise -- and all of his worlds!
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Format: Hardcover
Here is another fantastic novel by the master of the urban fantasy. This one is about Jilly Coppercorn, a painter who seems to peek her head in on most of de Lint's stories, whether they are short stories or novels. De Lint sets a majority of his tales in the North American city of Newford, and whether Jilly has a small or large part in the story, she is at Newford's heart; all the characters seem to have been affected by Jilly's kindness, charm and buoyant good nature. Jilly is the Onion Girl, however, and we see a much darker part of her than ever imagined before. This book is about the past, and how it can come snapping back to us, teeth blazing, when we least expect. This is one of those Chihuahua-smooshing burglar-stunning kinds of books, but it reads as fast as a 250 page-sized version. As usual, there is magic, and creatures far older than you or I, who were old when the world was created. But the thing I admire the most about de Lint's fiction, and this book is no different, are his characters. They are the ones who help out at soup kitchens and take in stray cats and bring people in off the street. These are people who have seen hard times themselves and go out of their way to help others. It is the simple fact that these people are good, in the purest sense of the word. And at the end of the novel, I truly wished Jilly was a real person that I could phone up and tell exactly how much I admire and love.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Charles de Lint, but I have a warning: If you've never read him don't read this as your first book. "Try Someplace to Be Flying" or "Jack the Giant Killer" or any of his short story collections. The Onion Girl is an ugly, brutal, emotional kick-in-the-teeth about childhood sexual abuse of a pair of sisters framed in an urban fantasy. I had a Norman Rockwell childhood and found it hard to finish because you can't help but feel for Jilly and her sister. (And if anything Widdershins is worse.)

Yes, read this and feel the pain inside it, but don't do it as your first foray into de Lint's Newford books.
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