Throughout the novel Lullabies for Little Criminals, there are a number of scenes that will make a readers skin crawl, and many that will make one want to cry. Emotions and opinions are evoked that many authors do not have the ability to bring to surface. At times readers despise the actions and decisions made by every character in this book, and are finding themselves literally frustrated sick at the amount they have emotionally invested in the characters. However, Heather O’Neil uses the innocent mind and voice of a young female main character named Baby to develop a relationship between the reader and the text that fills the pages. Readers are finding themselves becoming invested in the emotional and physical stability of the characters, and craving more at the end of each page. Through her storytelling, O’Neill has readers wrapped around her finger as they are watching over Baby’s shoulder, and feeling the same emotions that Baby describes. O’Neil takes this piece to a whole other level by transporting a readers mind out of the real world and into an imagined reality. Lullabies for Little Criminals takes the reader on a beautiful yet very vivid and harsh journey through some of the realities and struggles of things like prostitution, drugs and depression.
Throughout the novel, readers fall in love with a teenage main character that is struggling to co-exist and find her true identity in the midst of worldly influences. Heather O’Neil allows her readers to be engaged and understand the harsh, raw and devastating realities of the world around us. However, she beautifully orchestrates this journey and relationship between the reader and the characters of the novel. This piece of literature has funny moments; moments that make the reader think and reflect on his or her own life at times, all while maintaining a realistic and first-hand perspective.
Looking at Lullabies for Little Criminals and leafing through the many pages of dense text, as well as seeing the "Winner of Canada Reads" sticker on the front cover can be intimidating to some. However, O’Neil does a lovely job of making the introduction welcoming and enjoyable. Readers are eased into some heavy material slowly, and find themselves well prepared when the rather rough subjects comes to surface. O’Neil balances the heavy material with enough light-hearted humor to keep the readers craving more. This harmony allows for swift transitions and flow throughout the novel, which keeps readers engaged.
As the story progresses, readers journey with Baby as she is exposed and thrown into circumstances that are not intended for children. Things such as drugs, prostitution, homelessness and depression are things that the majority of kids her age have no concept of. These dreary and overpowering realties result in an overall dark mood throughout the story, engaging the reader and keeping them on their toes. O’Neil structures this piece of literature in a way that leaves the...