Book Review: Stupid Children by Lenore Zion

Stupid Children: Zion, Lenore: 9780983693260: Books

Title: Stupid Children

Author: Lenore Zion

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 176

Rating: A-

Recommended?: Yes

TW: Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Drug Addiction, Incest, Suicide

This was absolutely one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read, but I loved every minute of it. The story, which reminded me of the memoir Running With Scissors, follows a girl whose foster parents are in a cult. She gets sent to live with them when her mentally ill father attempts suicide, and she’s subjected to various bizarre forms of abuse as any semblance of a normal life goes down the toilet.

Even though it was dark and depressing, I loved the main character (Jane)’s deadpan narrative voice and the strange mood this book creates. I absolutely adore the oddness of the cover photo (it reminds me of the images in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books) and it might have influenced me to buy a copy, but the story ended up being a fully worthwhile experience in its own right.

This book was very psychological and I felt it gets bogged down in it’s own psychoanalysis at times. Jane understanding how fucked up she is and how much her childhood has damaged her and she spends large portions of book analyzing her own neuroses. Some of this (and her dark humor) can get a little bit repetitive but for the most part I enjoyed reading about this character and her insane upbringing. There was also a surprising amount of tenderness among all the brutality, with fleeting moments of hope and beauty.

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