Very interesting memoir. Even more interesting for me; I know this area of Hartford well because I have worked here for years.
I thoroughly enjoyed _Girls of a Tender Age_, a unique book that reads part memoir, part true-crime, weaving Tirone Smith's memories of a childhood in Hartford, CT with investigative details about the murder of a schoolgirl friend, a terrible crime that changed her neighborhood forever. Woven throughout the story is the controlling influence in her family, her older brother Tyler, who we would now recognize as autistic but who in the 1940's was mislabeled "retarded".
Though this combination memoir and true crime story feels slightly disjointed at times, the narrative of the murderer's life leading up to the crime is riveting and the details about the unique characters in Tirone Smith's large Catholic extended family are evocative and often laugh-out-loud funny.
She is best, though, in the poignant, honest, and lovely final chapters focusing on caring for her elderly father and her adult brother. Refreshingly honest about the inescapable guilt so many adult caregivers experience, Tirone Smith also captures beautifully the treasured moments of connection that can make years of caregiving meaningful. I especially appreciate the full portraits she draws of her parents and other family members, sketching their flaws as well as what made them loveable.
A great read for its period details from the 1940's and 1950's, and an especially recommended read for those whose families include adults with autism.
I really loved this book! It was a great read. She is a brillant writer.