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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Hardcover – 19 Feb 2019
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An Indie Next, Library Reads, and Barnes & Noble Discover Pick!
"The inequities of the justice system, the fortitude of women of color, and the bittersweet struggle to connect are rendered ravishly in this bighearted novel."--Oprah Magazine
"[An] intimate family saga sure to appeal to fans of Tayari Jones and Celeste Ng."--Entertainment Weekly
"I was immediately taken by the power and honesty of Anissa Gray's voice. She is a writer to watch, and this debut is not to be missed!"--Terry McMillan, New York Times bestselling author of I Almost Forgot About You and Waiting to Exhale
"If you enjoyed An American Marriage, read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls...an absorbing commentary on love, family and forgiveness."--The Washington Post
"As in Tayari Jones's best-selling An American Marriage, Gray uses imprisonment as the backdrop for a disarmingly compelling story that skirts easy answers and sentimentality. Conversational in tone and difficult in subject, Care and Feeding tells not just an American story but several important ones." --Vogue
"Gray's absorbing novel is about family and the things we hunger for."--Real Simple "Anissa Gray's debut is heralded as "The Mothers meets An American Marriage." If that's not enough to sell you on this stunning novel about family and relationships, we don't know what will." -HelloGiggles
"[A] stark, emotional story you don't want to miss."--Bustle
"A trio of sisters navigate the tricky waters of forgiveness in Gray's heartfelt, beautifully written debut...Get an extra copy for your best friend or your own sister; this is one you're going to want to talk about."--Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author "Gray beautifully captures the way strong women can piece a community back together, taking care of their loved ones while still figuring out how to care for themselves. A graceful debut that feels timely and important."--Karin Tanabe, author of The Gilded Years "This is perfect for fans of Brit Bennett's The Mothers; readers will be deeply affected by this story of a family wrestling to support itself."--Publisher's Weekly "Gray's engrossing and moving debut novel considers secrets and lies and their effect on the families of three sisters."--Booklist "Gray manages a large cast of characters with ease, sharply differentiating between the voices of hardheaded Althea, shrewd Viola, and hesitating Lillian, who narrate the novel in alternating chapters."--Kirkus "[A] moving portrait of a troubled family that would be an excellent book club pick."--PureWow "Deftly exploring black identity, sibling roles, and emotional trauma, Gray paints a nuanced family portrait you can't turn away from."--Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Anissa Gray is a Senior Editor at CNN Worldwide and a contributor to Emmy and DuPont-Columbia award-winning coverage of some of the most consequential stories of our time. She began her career at Reuters as a reporter, based in New York, covering business news and international finance. Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, Gray studied English and American literature at New York University. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her wife.
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I struggled with keeping some of the characters straight. I figured out the Butler kids right away but the spouses and secondary characters kept getting confused in my brain. I had to go back a couple of times to see who was telling the story and then it all came together. None of the characters were easy to like and each had their own nightmares to struggle with. It was good to see that they kept in touch and when the going got tough they came together to help each other out.
The storyline was one problem after another. There was an arrest, abuse, runaways, eating disorders, a marriage dissolving, and so many other problems that is seemed to all just keep piling on. Maybe that is the problem for me, it was such a dark story and I kept looking for the light that never seemed to come. The story was sad from the very beginning and it never got happy.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls impacted me on a very personal level; I have experience with both incarceration and disordered eating (and I will note that individuals for whom these are difficult topics should be aware of their presence within this novel), so I felt very connected to several of the characters within this book.
"I always promised myself I’d never be one fo those crisis Christians, running to God or Jesus or whoever in times of trouble. But here I am. In trouble. In crisis. Sitting up here in jail Bible study."
While the story is centered around married couple Althea and Proctor, who are sentenced to incarceration in federal prison after defrauding their community through charity events, it includes Althea’s two sisters and brother as well as Althea and Proctor’s two daughters. What makes the story remarkable is that each of these family members are hurting, all stricken with wounds that continue to reopen with each new development they are forced to endure. As I was once told, hurting people hurt people; that statement proves true in this novel.
In addition, each have found their own methods of coping with their pain; as one might guess, they are not healthy mechanisms and present their own set of problems that affect they way in which they interact with one another. Before you reject this one in despair, the beauty is found in Gray’s ability to built such rich, complex characters, full of so much compassion and descriptive emotion that I found myself irreversibly connected to their stories.
"Women like me pay attention to very thin girls like her who leave full or overly messy or manipulated plates. I’ve been watching Baby Vi for some time - claiming to prefer plain tea; rearranging food, but not eating it; pleading ‘I’m not hungry’ when she should be - and I don’t like what I’m seeing."
I have read comparisons of this one to both The Mothers and An American Marriage, but I don’t find those to be appropriate; if anything, thanks to the intense family element and difficult circumstances, I might compare this to A Place for Us. Nevertheless, I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite books of the year and, while my experience is certainly colored by my own story, I highly recommend giving this one a try.
Daughters who long for mothers. Sisters who need sisters. Everyone is hungry for something. And, it’s not all being served at the table.
What are we without support, love, and forgiveness. Women rise to the occasion in this book and oh, what a beautiful thing it is.