Lullabies For Little Criminals: How It All Begins

The novel I am reading is Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. It is about a troubled girl named Baby who is just coming into her teenage years. She has a wide, vivid imagination that is restricted due to the way her life has been played out. She lives with her 25 year father, Jules, in the city of Montreal. They are very poor and move from apartment to apartment in the bad parts of the city.

The author does a great job in representing the poverty this family is experiencing. For example, in the first chapter she does it in both a comedic yet sad way. It says, “Jules made me a cake and brought out a piñata that he’d made by gluing layer upon layer of newspaper on a balloon and painting it white with liquid paper.” (O’Neill 8) This began to give me mental images of their way of life and who they are.

In the novel, Jules has a big drug problem. This has effected the way that Baby has grown up. She has to be more independent and see things that no child should see, like her father being high on heroine. Since drugs are involved in the novel, this leads me to believe the intended audience the author had for this novel was young adults and older. There are things that have occurred in this part of my novel that have shocked me. For example it says, “For a kid, I knew a lot of things about what it felt like to use heroin, just from looking and listening.” (O’Neill 10)

This novel is already truly opening my eyes to how lucky and privileged I am. It is a crazy thing to me that there are kids in real life growing up the same way as Baby is in the story. I have always been grateful, but I realize now how good I truly have it. This book is teaching me a lot about myself.

As soon as I began reading this novel, I became instantly hooked. The author does a great job of describing things and knows how to keep you wanting more. It sparked my lost interest of enjoying reading. I am very excited to see how the rest of the story will play out.


O’Neill, Heather. Lullabies for Little Criminals: A Novel. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.

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