Thursday, September 3, 2009

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang (1994)

What events provoke the formation of a gang? What kind of people commit to a gang? These are two of the questions answered in Joyce Carol Oates book about a group of girls who form a gang called Foxfire and vow to take care of each other and avenge misdeeds by males. Not all gangs are located in large urban slums or are populated by non-white men. These girls live in a town called Hammond in New York state. The one thing in common they have with other gangs is that they mostly come from broken families and have been victims of abuse of one kind or another.

What was it, what would be the instrument of their revenge, or was it to be something more significant more lasting more deeply binding? - Maddy'd heard from murmured words exchanged between Goldie and Lana that a "gang" was possible to be formed, the very sound of the word sent her blood racing, "gang," there were gangs in Hammond in Lowertown in the Fairfax neighborhood but they were all boys or young men in their late teens, early twenties, there were no girl gangs nor were there stories of or memories of "girl gangs" Oh Jesus the very sound "girl gang" had the power to send the blood racing!

One of the major themes that comes out from this book is how females discover (and is it so very different still?) that males hold all the power in the world and females are just expected to respect and accept that. These girls don't and they fight back.

Says Lana, "You get the feeling They're afraid of us?" licking her lips 'cause it's such a nice feeling, and Goldie smiles saying, "Huh! They better be," and Legs says, smiling but serious too, "'First comes fear, then respect' as Father Theriault says. 'The oppressed of the Earth, rising, make their own law.'"

This is a terrific book. I wish that young women who are directly or indirectly associated with gangs today would read this book. They would be able to see how gangs fit into their lives and maybe see how they might be able to live and succeed without them.

My rating for this book: +++++

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