Talk Amongst Yourselves

Well Hello There!!  A book discussion?  I think I may have forgotten how to put that together (though I was never any good at it in the first place).  So, the book that we read during March & April was “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” by Karen Russell.  I know a few of you did read this book and at least one of you really enjoyed it.  I have never been a fan of short stories but I figured I would give it a chance for two reasons; one being it had the winning vote by Planet Books readers and two, it was a gift from my sister.

A few of you posted some great questions to get us started so I would like to re-post them here for us to work from.

Care asked these questions:  What was your favorite story, your favorite main character, which moral dilemma bothered you the most, did you read this in order, and what did you think of the use of setting as character? 

Beastmomma asked:  What did you think of the animals that were selected for each story?  What did the animal add to the moral dilemma?

My questions to you is:  If this book brought you out of your reading comfort zone, were you happy to be there?  Was it hard to get involved with these stories because they were so short or did that quick relationship seem more appealing to your busy schedules? 

My favorite story was “Children’s Reminiscences of the Westward Migration”.  It was smack dab in the middle of the book and I found myself very surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  The description of the journey the families made together to make a better life for themselves was full of great visuals and strife.  The Minotaur father who saw the prospects of living on acres and acres of land instead of his little home near the local asylum was such a strong character who tolerated so much due to his physical appearance.  His wife’s first thoughts of moving out west were fueled by the idea of not being the butt of jokes because her husband was part human and part beast.  The relationships between the family members were strong as well as their relationships with the people in the wagon train. 

I also enjoyed “Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers”, “Haunting Olivia” and the title story, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”. 

I came across this RADIO INTERVIEW with author Karen Russell on NPR as well as this INTERVIEW over at


4 thoughts on “Talk Amongst Yourselves

  1. I just finished reading the book this morning; again, I am late, but still excited to particpate. I will put up my formal review later; in the meantime here is my Sunday Salon post about it:

    Thanks for all of these great questions and the interview links you provided. Here are my answers:

    My favorite story is the title one, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” I was bothered by almost all of the moral dilemmas. The one which stuck with me the most was the dilemma with the wolves desire to be with their family and to become human which was illustrated in St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. I did read the stories in order. I thought that the settings were good additions and did function as additional characters.

    I thought that the animals selected for each story impacted how the moral dilemma played out. Each animal was viewed in a certain way and had limitations which influenced how they were able to function (or not) in society.

    I was happy to be out of my reading comfort zone. The short story format appealed to my busy schedule. I did get involved with the stories and wanted more resolution.

    This was a long comment 🙂 Thanks for hosting another great book club.

  2. Answers to Care’s questions:

    Favorite Story: Can’t pick one. I liked them all.

    Favorite Main Character: Big Red in The City of Shells

    Moral Dilemma That Bothered Me Most: The Star-gazers Log of Summer-time Crime made me very uncomfortable… that there were no consequences, that the characters were so badly influenced, and that there was no rescue for the turtles and no resolution.

    Yes, I read it the stories in order.

    Setting As Character: I love how the author does this! They are so vivid and imaginative. The glow-worm grotto in Haunting Olivia is awesome.

    The title story made the animal life of living like wild wolves more natural and appealing than the etiquette of humans. Moving from living like a wild animal to living like a human, the characters’ growth and adaptation to society seemed even more painful than our own moving from childhood to adulthood, and it made this story all the more sad as we can all relate to some feeling of loss in that transition, knowing you can never go back. The main chacacter can hardly find her way back to see her parents, and when she finds them and says she is home, now it’s a lie.

    I think the turtles also represented lost youth, as did the Yeti, and the Alligator.

  3. hi! Late to the party! Since I gave away the book (to Eva of A Striped Armchair – she will give a good review, I’m sure) and so I don’t ahve a reference… I just want to say that this book would NEVER have been one I would have picked up to read if not for this ‘club’ and so I thank you for broadening and enlightening my reading.

    I really enjoyed these. I’m starting to really enjoy short stories, too. I did not read these stories in order. I tend to jump around. I read the last story second and I think it was one of my favorites. I had moral dilemmas with most of the them… especially the getting trapped in the seashell and the very first one when the girls were left alone. MOst fun was probably the ice rink one. But the one that has stayed with me – I keep telling the neighbor kids to contemplate whether or not their actions are ‘a comical ironical crime’ or not? I love to make them ‘wonder’ just how strange Miss Care is… THAT was a very strange story – symbolism and all.

    Amazing writer… I will put Russell on my ‘watch’ list for what she does next…

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