Talk-Funny Girl
by Merullo, Roland

Raised by parents so intentionally isolated that they speak their own hybrid dialect, abused youth Marjorie witnesses a nearby town's economic ruin and her parents' submission to a sadistic cult leader before she is rescued by another abuse survivor who teaches her stoneworking skills. 20,000 first printing.

ROLAND MERULLO is the acclaimed author of twelve previous books, including Revere Beach Boulevard, In Revere in Those Days, A Little Love Story, Golfing with God, Breakfast with Buddha, and American Savior. Merullo has won numerous prizes, including the Massachusetts Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

In the searing tradition of Bastard out of Carolina (1992) and Ellen Foster (1998), the prolific Merullo's latest novel homes in on the suffering of a backwoods New Hampshire girl. Marjorie Richards' parents are so isolated from mainstream society that they speak in their own dialect, which has made Marjorie the victim of bullies at school who call her "the talk-funny girl." In addition, her family is under the sway of a sadistic cult leader who believes in abusive forms of discipline. Luckily, Marjorie's loving aunt lands her a job with a stonemason, himself a victim of abuse, who is intent on building a cathedral right in the middle of town. As Marjorie learns a new and valuable skill under the tutelage of a gentle man, she begins to recognize both her own self-worth and the twisted dynamics of her family life. Merullo not only displays an inventive use of language in creating the Richards' strange dialect but also delivers a triumphant story of one lonely girl's resilience in the face of horrific treatment. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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