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 town.
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