Dirty Little Angels

Fiction - Drama
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 04/19/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

As I started to read this novel, I soon come to the realization that this is not a book for someone looking for an afternoon cozy read. Although the book is fiction, you can view it as what is going on in the world today.

As seen through the eyes of Hailey Trosclair, a 16-year-old girl living in the slums of  New Orleans.  When her mother has a miscarriage, it’s like she turns away from life.  Praying to God does not seem to help.

When her father loses his job, he draws unemployment, but instead of looking for a job, he spends his time in a bar and cheating on his wife. She came from a rich family, disowned because of marriage. Her husband cannot supply the standard of living that she was use to.  There are talks of divorce, a brother who has been in and out of jail. This is what Hailey lives with.

Take a trip through the life of a sixteen-year-old’s world of drugs, sex, murder, and cult Worshipers

This is one to read with an open mind.  The author does not make the story line sweet and innocent. In this short story, you will learn that it is still about family

B. J. Gouedy

The family falls apart, each with their own set of problems, and the daughter, Hailey, is swept along with them. This is Southern Gothic at its best, murder, adultry, religion, sex, everyone screwed up, you know that this story just might not have a happy ending. Mr. Tusa is a young author that leaves me wanting to read more.

W. Bentrim

Chris Tusa has crafted an milieu sure to create severe discomfort for most readers, perhaps even those who live in a similar situation. In a previous world, I occasionally came in contact with true sociopaths. Tusa's depictions are true to character for a case study in amorality. The story takes place in an altogether too real New Orleans slum populated by unlovable denizens. Their interactions to each other and their environment provide the fodder for this smoking gun. This isn't a comfortable reading experience. You are forced to acknowledge conditions and people exist that are beyond your own personal experience. Even a gesture such as bringing your sick mother flowers is called into question upon discovery that the flowers were stolen from a grave.

Mental illness layered with violence, jealousy and more rank pathologies than you can categorize surround the coming of age of 16 year old Hailey. Coming of age in this situation seems to imply dealing with your own angels and demons. Familial affection triumphs when sister sacrifices for brother.

All in all the book was well done and exceedingly hard to stomach. A slice of Americana that won't bring a smile to any face but may open some eyes.

Margaret Shelton

Set in contemporary New Orleans, this book tells the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair, a basically good-hearted girl in a grimy world peopled thickly with the willfully unemployed, ex-cons, drug addicts, and indigents as she deals with themes of sex, death, adultery, casual violence, friendship, and betrayal. Hailey struggles with the disconnect between her mother's Christian ideals and faith in Jesus and the reality that is her bleak lower-class life. Hailey moves through a world where everyone has good points along with their evil ones. The "Dirty Little Angels" of the title are a metaphor for the people in her life as well as for society itself, wallowing in misery and filth but always hoping for something better.

The dialogue and the characters are well-written, and the dialogue is very gritty and snappy. I would call this a coming-of-age story of the Southern Gothic genre. It's definitely a good read!

Michael Phelps

Author Christopher Tusa has created a powerful cadre of characters in "DIRTY LITTLE ANGELS". The Protagonist is a 15 year old girl (Hailley Trousclair) whose lazy, pool-playing father is cheating on her mother, who spends all her time in bed, fighting depression. Her 19 year old brother is mixed up with the wrong crowd, and soon takes Hailley into the gritty, sleazy group. With Hailley telling the story, you are drawn to her, and pray for the best. You have to admire her grit, and how she deals with here faith and the fact that God "doesn't answer" her prayers.
I hope Mr. Tusa has a sequel to this book. It is a book you will not put down! I have added Mr. Tusa to MOST FAVORITE list of AUTHORS!

Cat Shannon

A southern family flails away at life, losing sight of all that is important - their love for each other. But what a warped and wicked ride before they realize that all they strive to escape is what holds them to this earth. No body is a saint in New Orleans.

Terri Lee-Johnson

Upon reading the summary of this book, I anticipated heavy, gritty language reminiscent of Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk. I was becoming disappointed that I was not meeting a challenge of hard to swallow dialogue and imagery until I thought of the comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird. Once I kept this in mind as a point of reference, but only for tone and language, I was able to appreciate Tusa's work.

Christopher Tusa has penned a subtly grimy novel of life of some "Dirty Little Angels" living in and around New Orleans. The cast of characters range from the protagonist, Hailey, who's a sixteen year old just wanting to keep her family in tact to Moses, who has some slightly warped ideas of religion with his plans for a drive-thru church. Hailey, her brother Cyrus, and their parents-Lena and Jules- all have their crosses to bear and it's definitely interesting to discover whether or not they are triumphant.

What this novel lacks in intensity it definitely makes up for in spirit and conviction.

Kristin M. Chapman

Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa is one darn good read! Tusa main character, Hailey, is learning how to exist around boys, with her friends, and most of all, how to get along with her family. With an emotionally unavailable mother, a loving, but alcoholic father, a criminally minded brother, and an oversexed best friend, it is no wonder Hailey has some troubles. The story is wonderful; a coming of age tale with a few twists, but what is so wonderful is the description Tusa adds to the plot. The book is relatively short, but packed with funny comments and advice on life. The ending was a bit abrupt, but do not let the ending distance the reader from the story. It's a darn good book!

S. Levin

"The baby was a white fist of flesh..." From the opening line of Dirty Little Angels the prose of Chris Tusa captures your attention. Sentences drift off the page and slap you in the face..." I imagined the stitches in her stomach, tiny black mouths puckering between the folds of her belly."

Set in the slums of New Orleans, we feel the poverty and the acceptance of circumstance as 16 yr. old Hailey loses her innocence living in a world everyone is trying to save her from. From her older brother Cyrus who's pretty good with a pair of brass knuckles and knows his way around the law, to Verma the old black woman Hailey helps after school, they all want better for Hailey, but can offer nothing but empty words and little hope. Along with Cyrus and Verma there are a cast of down trodden characters that include her drunk father and selfish mother who turns to religion to try and save her dysfunctional family. Sex, drugs & violence all play a roll in Dirty Little Angels, but it's the incredible flesh and blood characters that keep you turning the pages. It's a gritty story with a raw energy and an unexpected ending. And by the time you turn the last page you are asking for more!

Visit the pages of Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa and hang out with Hailey, Cyrus and their friends in the run down, barren places they call home in a New Orleans no tourist ever gets to see.... you won't be sorry!

Julie K. Nichols

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and depth of this short book. The writing was excellent and the story was riveting. Many different and interesting characters, combined with lots of twists and turns to this story about one family in the deep south, and one girl's harsh introduction to betrayal, crime, losing faith, and just trying to survive in the midst of so many obstacles.

I will watch for more from this author, and would recommend this book to others.

Sandra L. Greathouse

I enjoyed this novel about a dysfunctional family, a gritty and raw story that keeps you turning the pages to read more. A very good storyline and characters. I will definately read more of this author.