The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls #BookReview

Anissa Gray | February 2019

Anissa Gray writes about the 3 Butler sisters and their life yesterday and today. Yesterday, they narrowly escaped their abusive childhood home and father to grow up to be, today, reflections of the brokenness they’ve never really escaped.

Althea, the eldest, left home early to be with Proctor her childhood sweetheart. Dad was angry and never forgave her for it. The two went on to get married and start a family and successful business, until, to everyone’s surprise, they were both arrested and held for misappropriation of government funds. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Viola, the middle child left home for college and never returned. Her sister Althea made sure she finished and had whatever she needed to succeed- except her approval of Viola’s longtime female lover. We meet Viola mid break up and break down. Viola, the psychotherapist, is anorexic and has begun overeating and purging due to stress. Interestingly enough, the word ‘anorexic’ is never used in the book. The secret that everyone knows- they just call Viola ‘sick’. Chil’e. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Then we have Lillian the baby, she left dad last and returned to the childhood home after her divorce and dads passing. He left everything to her and she’s rehabbed the childhood home in the same manner she’d like to redo her past, making it all pretty. Lillian is our constant reminder though something may look a certain way on the outside, it’s still broken and ugly inside.

There’s a boatload of other characters rounding out the cast to include Althea and Proctors misplaced and disgruntled children, Lillian’s children and Asian, aging mother in law, from the husband she cheated on right before he died, Joe, the only brother in Butler clan, whose been all but banished due to some mysterious childhood incident w/Lillian and a bunch of townspeople that play in the background angry at Althea and her husband for the money they’ve stolen. The story is narrated in part by each sister and from time to time, a kid. We hear from Althea and Proctor through letters they write to one another.

This story has a lot going on but, I found Althea and Proctor’s dynamic most interesting. Though they’re incarcerated, their story is not about jail, it’s about love. Their love story is intriguing and a good contrast to the cells they occupy. I think a lot of women will recognize Althea and her nasty attitude, she’s a bitch. She’s mean, an abuser of her children and family and I think the author attempts to give us some insight as to why, even if we don’t agree with the logic. We also get some insight, from the authors perspective, why bitter benches like Althea, sometimes have husbands and/or family, that worship them and seemingly allow abuse to continue. Some part of them is lovable and Proctor and Viola represent that point of view.

I really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the storyline. Our first instinct is to draw clear lines between good and bad but often, life happens and/or people you really love grow up to be assholes. 🤷🏾‍♀️ Lines get massively blurred. Maybe you just push through. Love from a distance, learn to forgive and move on, even when there’s no apology. I think we get to witness this family working through some of that. I would love to revisit all of them later in life to see how far they get. #GoodBook 19 of 36.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

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