BOWERY GIRL by Kim Taylor
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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Mollie and Annabelle—both orphans, one a pickpocket, the other a prostitute—share a windowless tenement room, meager rations and a sense of desperation in the Bowery of New York City, 1833. They bathe at the Cherry Street Settlement House and harbor futile dreams of crossing the brand-new Brooklyn Bridge into a normal life and a new world. Their amorality reflects their grim existence, and their use of strong language and casual approach to sex may cause sensitive readers to blush. However, Mollie and Annabelle’s interactions with everyone from boyfriends to shopkeepers depict with accuracy the contempt with which their society regarded women of their social class. A potential savior arises in Miss DuPre, the “Do-Gooder” who founded the Settlement, but ultimately even her qualified altruism is unable to save the day. The tearjerker ending is saved from trite sentimentality by Mollie’s no-nonsense narration. She and Annabelle refuse to pity themselves, and their fierce determination to make it lends credence to the millions of historical and contemporary girls who dared to dream in the face of extraordinary challenges. (Historical fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-670-05966-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006


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