The Big Girls
By Susanna Moore
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400041909, 240pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
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At the heart of this electrifying novel is a crime of unfathomable horror and its effect on several profoundly different lives, each altered by a surprising connection to the others.
We hear four brilliantly realized voices: Helen, an inmate at Sloatsburg women’s prison serving a life sentence for the murder of her children; trapped within the maze of her own tortured mind, she is the subject of damning national attention. Dr. Louise Forrest, the recently divorced mother of an eight-year-old boy—the new chief of psychiatry at Sloatsburg. Angie, an ambitious Hollywood starlet, intent on nothing but fame. And Ike Bradshaw, a sardonic corrections officer, formerly a New York City narcotics detective.
As the alternating narratives unfold, we begin to wonder why Dr. Forrest has chosen Sloatsburg over the Park Avenue practice for which she was trained. And the origin of Helen’s psychosis is revealed—both its shocking depths and its disturbingly convincing rationale—as well as why she is desperate to make herself known to the young actress Angie.
The Big Girls is a powerful and audacious novel about the anarchy of families, the sometimes destructive power of the maternal instinct, the vitality and evil of communities, and the cult of celebrity—written in spare, evocative prose and with a bold understanding of the darkest, most hidden aspects of human nature.
Susanna Moore is the author of the novels One Last Look, In the Cut, Sleeping Beauties, The Whiteness of Bones, and My Old Sweetheart, and a book of nonfiction, I Myself Have Seen It. She lives in New York City.