THE TALK FUNNY GIRL by Roland Merullo
Publisher Crown/Random, July 5, 2011
Marjorie Richards--now a wife and
mother--tells the story of her rescue from a bizarre, abusive childhood. By
turns dark with a peculiar breed of insanity and bright with love and
resilience, The Talk-Funny Girl is a testament to one young woman's
courage and the healing force of love.
Marjorie is raised by parents so intentionally isolated from normal human
society that they develop their own dialect, a kind of mountain hybrid of
English that displays both their ignorance of and disdain for the wider
world. As the nearby factory town sinks deeper into economic ruin, as girls
Marjorie's age mysteriously disappear, and as her parents fall under the
influence of a sadistic cult leader, Marjorie is rescued from her own
private hell in unique fashion: she is hired by a man, himself a victim of
abuse, who is building what he calls "a cathedral," right in the center of
Day by day, Marjorie's skills as a stoneworker increase, and so does her
discomfort with the bitter rules of her family life. Slowly, she discovers
what is lovable within herself, and this new confidence enables her to break
free, start a family of her own, and try to fully heal her wounds without
passing the pain on to her own children.
"Roland Merullo has created not just a unique voice but a unique language
for seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, but what makes The Talk-Funny
Girl unforgettable is its young heroine's refusal to succumb to the evil
that surrounds her. What a brilliant, great-hearted novel this is."
-- Ron Rash, author of Serena
"Roland Merullo's book, The Talk-Funny Girl, takes place in the
gritty real world, but is rooted in myth. I loved the inventiveness, the
bits of unusual language, the heart-wrenching story, and the remarkable
portrait of a troubled but gutsy girl who battles her way toward happiness.
One of the best novels I have ever read. A book for the ages."
-- Anita Shreve, author of Rescue