The Big Girls tells the stories of four people whose lives are interconnected. Most of the story focuses on Louise Forrest, a psychiatrist working at a women's prison, and Helen who is her patient there. Helen is incarcerated for the murder of her children, yet Dr. Forrest feels sympathetic towards her and tries to help her. The other characters whose stories are told in first person are the prison warden, and Annie, and aspiring actress who happens to be dating Dr. Forrest's ex-husband and is the object of Helen's interest.
Sound confusing? Although the narrator alternates randomly, it is not as confusing as it sounds because each character has a distinctive voice - once you get to know them it is clear after reading a section or two of each section who is speaking. What was confusing to me was whether or not there is a point to this book. There are lots of references to violence, lesbian relationships in prison, and gross things in jail bathrooms, but ultimately I didn't find much redeeming value to the story other than being slightly shocking entertainment.
I don't really know what to say about this book. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. It was written in a way that makes you feel trapped in the characters head. It is insightful yet confining. I would like to say that this book gives a good Idea of what it is like inside a women's prison, but I don't know as I have never been to one. I know that when I was reading The Big Girls I wanted to continue reading it but I can't really say why. It is hard to call this book enjoyable yet it did keep my attention. In the end I would not recommend this book however, I do not regret reading it. And this is the most wishy washy review I have ever written.
This novel takes you to places you'll (hopefully) never actually experience -- among the "big girls" in a maximum security prison -- excellent storycrafting by the author. Raw, violent, unnerving, and based on fact and fiction (you'll recognize some of the "inmates" from media accounts)-- a very fast read.
This book, to me, was very disappointing. It jumps from narrator to narrator without warning & the reader is left to guess who is telling the story this time. I often had to refer to the book description to take a guess. A few times, I never did figure it out. All the warning you get that a new narrator ia taking over is a few extra spacings between paragraphs. And while I wont ruin the ending, all I can say is there must be something I missed. It certainly wasnt obvious, to me again, what, if any, point there was to this book. My final thought upon finishing it was "what an extreme waste of time." I would skip this book, reading a phonebook might be more rewarding.