Dirty Little Angels
(published March 2009)
I received this book from The Library Thing as an early reviewer book. The edition I was given is an e-Book. Because it's an e-book, it did take me quite a while to read this book. I don't do well reading books at my desktop, and I don't have an e-reader ( or what ever they're called) I'm a pretty Low-Tech gal. Anyway, I decided tonight to buckle down and finish reading this book that the author was kind enough to send me.
Dirty Little Angels is about a family that is falling apart. The father has lost his job, the mother has been on leave from her job as an R.N. for quite awhile and suffers from a back injury, depression and a long ago miscarraige. Hailey (the narrator) and her brother Cyrus are suffering from a lack of attention from their parents, who are emotionally unavailable to their children and themselves. There isn't a lot to like about very many of the characters in this book. Thankfully, Hailey has moments of kindness that shine through some of her twisted actions. She has been praying to God to help her family, but things are just getting worse instead of better. The one constant that she seems to have is Verma, an older friend of the family.
Hailey's brother Cyrus and Hailey become involved with an odd, twisted "holy" roller type of minister who is filthy-grimy and has a twisted sense of justice. Hailey is also becoming involved with her friend, Meridian's boyfriend. Meridian doesn't seem like a very nice friend throughout the novel, neither is Chase - Meridian's boyfriend and Hailey's lust interest. Hailey doesn't seem to have much support from anyone but Verma and her brother Cyrus, who is having a hard time himself making decisions and mistakes.
Hailey and Cyrus become involved in something that changes their lives, as well as affecting other lives. Anymore information on this would be a spoiler. Bad things happen to both of them, as well as to Verma - the incidents aren't connected. Other than they are just more horrible things happening to those in Hailey's family and around her in a long line of horrible happenings. Just like in real life, no one in this novel (set in the slums of New Orleans) seems to get a break.
Even though I didn't really care for any of the characters, I did enjoy reading the novel. I didn't care for the characters, because they weren't people that I would have wanted in my life, although they are like some of the people that I've come across. While I couldn't really agree with Hailey's choices I could empathize with why she made some of the choices that she did. She lacks attention, her mother seems to care only for her own self, her father is distant though he does care for his kids. Hailey ends of seeking attention, the worst kind of attention from the wrong people. She ends up paying a price for this. Both Hailey and her brother end up doing some rather horrible things to others. Hailey does a horrible thing to herself.
It was nice, though to see some kindness coming from Hailey to an unexpected person. She befriends an older man dying of cancer in the hospital, the husband of a friend of her father's. There's more to that story, but it's spoilers also. She visits and cares for Verma, who goes in and out of the hospital with complications from diabetes.
This book had some grittyness and at first it seems a little depressing. There isn't much value in life shown by the characters, but in the end there is a ray of hope shining through, even though there is quite a shocking ending.