During one of my grad school classes we were required to read St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. The short story, mind you, not this book. I've read this particular author before, specifically Vampires in the Lemon Grove, which I really enjoyed and Swamplandia, which I had some issues with.
So I was a little mixed going into the short story. I loved her short stories before, so I was assuming I would like this as well, but what if it ended up leaving a sour note in my mouth? But I loved it, truly. The short story (St. Lucy's) is so wonderfully odd and interesting as we focus on girls who behave like dogs but are slowly, awkwardly, trained to be the humans they are. The awkward language and phrases the characters use as they try to verbalize thoughts and feelings were so perfect--executed with the odd phrasing of a person learning English--and it was entirely unique.
After reading the short story I considered what else I could do. One thing came to mind: buy the book. It took quite a bit for me to get through the short stories. I would work on each story then take a few days break while dealing with other work. They were all unique and different from one another, but I feel that, while Vampires in the Lemon Grove dealt with a lot more adults and end-of-life ideas, this was much more focused on youth.
I think St. Lucy's is still my favorite, but I really enjoyed the other short stories.
This made me consider the other books I've read by the author and why Swamplandia sat so poorly with me. Swamplandia was a great book and wonderfully odd, it sucked you into this world that you found yourself hard to leave, but I feel there was useless violence that wasn't necessary and that really perturbed me. When it comes to her short stories, they're still portraying those wonderfully odd, quirky ideas but with the lack of pointless violence. Still creepy at times, maybe a little uncomfortable, but nothing is dragged out.
Needless to say, I think I enjoyed St. Lucy's more than even Vampires in the Lemon Grove. I also enjoy that all of her book covers really seem to reflect one another with the same style.