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Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’neill

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Lullabies for Little Criminals

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill is a novel about the loss of childhood innocence and the harsh realities of growing up in an unhealthy environment. While reading the first part of Lullabies for little criminals I found it interesting and eye opening to way some kids are living and how no child has the option of how they grow up and what they are surrounded with. There are children who grow up in a good home with stable parents who love and provide for them. Then there are some like Baby’s situation where they grow up in a bad home, without a stable parental figure and lose their innocence at a young age.

Baby, a 12 year old, who is also the protagonist, lives with her father Jules, who is drug addict and is constantly in and out of the hospital and rehab, because of Baby’s situation it caused her to grow up fast and have to learn to take care of herself. She tries to look on the bright side of everything, to protect her innocence, and have a better life. “When he was stoned, he was honest. I loved when he told me his secrets”(18) Baby knows when her father is stoned and when he is not. She prefers when he is stoned, because he talks more and is happier. Baby is well aware of her father’s extra curricular activities ” Jules and his friends had been calling heroin chocolate milk for years…. Jules had a backgammon set with electrical tape around it that I wasn’t allowed to touch that he kept his drugs in” (10) she know about his drugs, where he keeps them and even thinks Jules drug dealers are some of the nicest people in the world because that’s all she knows. She is surrounded by drug addicts all the time and thinks that’s okay because she’s never been in a different environment.

When Baby becomes delusional with a harsh reality, of her father choosing drugs over her, this leads her astray not knowing what to think or how to feel and causing her to lose her innocence in a way eventually become aware of drugs, sex, and hurt as we awaited our hallucinations, waiting to be anointed cool and troubled people”(86) Baby turns to trying “magic mushrooms” to deal with her problems, she thought since Jules did it that she would. Baby looked up to Jules, sometimes not as a father but as a friend. I felt like trying drugs knocked down Baby’s last “wall” of innocence Once you lose your innocence it is very hard to recover from it and eventually leads baby to make poor decisions.

The novel is written from Baby’s point of view, it makes it feel more personal, and you can understand how she feels and what she has to go through everyday. The writing is in third person and uses many swear words which makes the story better in showing how different of a childhood Baby had and that she was exposed to all these drugs, bad words and sex so young which definitely can effect the way a child’s brain develops. These are all things that 12 year olds are normally blind too. Parents tend not to expose their children to such traumatizing things but Jules doesn’t seem to think twice about and he doesn’t shelter her from it. “It didn’t mean you were innocent at all. It meant you were cool and gorgeous.”(4) Jules would tell Baby about her name and what it meant. I take it that this is the part where the author hides her innocence, instead of being an innocent normal child; Baby is thrown into a different light, something that



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