Dirty Little Angels

Rated 3.37/5 based on 113 reviews
When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey Trosclair looks to Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con for guidance. Gradually, though, Moses’s twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey soon finds herself trapped in a world of danger from which there may be no escape.

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About Chris Tusa

Chris Tusa was born and raised in New Orleans. He holds a B.A. in English, an M.A in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Aside from teaching in the English Department at LSU, he also acts as Managing Editor for Poetry Southeast. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he was able to complete his first chapbook of poetry, Inventing an End. His debut collection of poems, Haunted Bones, was published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2006. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Texas Review, Prairie Schooner, The New Delta Review, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Passages North, Spoon River, New York Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, Tar River, StorySouth, and others. He has studied under a number of notable writers, including Tim Gautreaux, Sidney Wade, and Debora Gregor. His debut novel, Dirty Little Angels, was published by The University of West Alabama in March of 2009. He is currently working on his second novel, In the Valley of Falling Stars, a dark tragicomedy featuring a middle-aged woman who’s convinced she’s been chosen by God to give birth to Jesus Christ.

Tusa’s stories are, in effect, Southern-fried Greek tragedies. In his work, the backwoods Southern Gothicism of Faulkner and O’Connor intersects with a more contemporary, more urban depiction of the South. Typical themes include mental illness as well as the ways in which the contemporary, celebrity-driven American culture has managed to alter the landscape of the traditional Christ-haunted South.

Learn more about Chris Tusa

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pamela chismar reviewed on on July 11, 2016

I won this book from Library Thing member giveaway.

I just loved this book. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it back down until I was finished.
The story of 16 year old Hailey Trosclair and her family. After her mother has a miscarriage, the family seems to fall apart. Hailey is a good girl but falls into all kinds of bad situations, due to things such as environment and friends.
The story is gripping and realistic. There was never a dull moment.
This is one of those stories I could see myself reading again in the future.
(reviewed 5 years after purchase)
Marilyn Clement reviewed on on June 15, 2013

Certainly, I believe the author was aiming to eviscerate the reader. I believe the author managed to obtain that goal; however, for me, I could not accept Hailey's actions and reactions in the book.Hailey's character appeared to have been portrayed as an intelligent young woman; therefore, I expected her to act intelligently which was not the case.

I could believe everything else in the book, but not Hailey's reactions to her surroundings.

All other characterizations in the book were spot- on. Too bad, this could have been a really good book.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
Cindy Holdmann reviewed on on June 2, 2013

I agree that this book had no resolution, was almost completely depressing and the characters had little or no development. It kept shuffling back and forth as the story line had no fluency about it. I did receive a copy of the story for my honest review, and honestly, I would not recommend this to anyone.
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)
Shari Butterfield reviewed on on May 20, 2013

A story about a girl whose family suffers just about every hardship imaginable: unemployment, miscarriage, injury, affairs, jail time, threat of divorce, alcoholism, eviction, gambling, depression, attempted suicide, violence, murder, and the list goes on.

While initially drawn into the story, I was thoroughly disappointed with the lack of resolution with anything. Injuries weren't healing, violence just kept escalating. Everyone just gave up trying to help themselves. The one positive character in the story couldn't even influence anyone.

I guess I'm too much of an optimist, but this book left me feeling like the glass wasn't half-full...it was empty.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Tanya Rogers reviewed on on May 14, 2013

I rcvd this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A twisted book about drugs,a family with multiple issues, sex, violence, and mental illness.

I couldnt get into the story. I am glad the book was short as I had to force myself to read it. the charactors are lacking...they need more development so you can understand the storyline.

Not a fan
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
kelley king reviewed on on May 5, 2013

This was an okay book I agree with the review by Cori B on many levels. I would probably not read it again. Although I did like some parts of it it was a little hard to follow.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Cori B. reviewed on on April 17, 2013

I think this book is a bit twisted: I didn't like it because of its lack of details and that feeling that events happened at random it gave me, but if I dig a bit deeper into the story I can actually see what the author wanted to communicate. The whole story is boring, without any doubt, and I was glad the book has only 144 pages. I think that more attention to details, and some more development to the plot could have been made this book better.

I received an free copy from the author/publisher for this book in exchange of my honest review. The free copy I received didn’t influence my review, and I gave it my honest opinion.
The story, if looking at it just like a sort of documentary, could have been good; but the way it is told isn't able to reach the reader. I didn't feel a single thing reading this book and I didn't feel close to the characters. I still imagine each character, Hailey included, like some human-shaped figures with no face and without emotions. For me it was like characters were just plain names doing plain stuff, while I guess the whole purpose of the story was to actually transmit something through its characters. Well, it didn't happen for me.

I believe that characters weren't well built, and I think that spending some more time developing them and the plot would have helped.

Things I liked: This isn't a thing I liked actually, because I wasn't able to find it reading the story, but the only good thing I can think about is the message Chris Tusa wanted to transmit. It was there, and I saw it emerging at some point, but it didn't get further than that. I'm talking about how complex life could be if just one thing isn't in place or just doesn't go as it was supposed to. I guess that was the message, and maybe even that life is hard and you have to sacrifice sometimes, but I'm not sure because the story seemed too plain to me.

Things I didn't like: I didn't like the book, as I said before, because of its lack of details, a story going nowhere and that seemed just a list of events happening for no apparent reason, and its characters being just plain. I want to feel characters when I read a book: feel sorry when they are sorry, happy when something good happens to them. In this book this feeling never appeared.

I would recommend this book: No, I wouldn't recommend Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa. I do like what that story could have been, the idea was there, but since it didn't show up I really don't feel like to recommend this book.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Kimberly Scott reviewed on on Dec. 28, 2012

Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa is a look at the darker, seedy, side of life
about a 16 year-old girl named Hailey,
her brother, Cyrus, who tries to look out for her, and has gotten involved with some shady characters
her mother, Lena, who is depressed after a miscarriage,
her father, Jules, who is unemployed and spends most of his time drinking, gambling, and having an affair.

Hailey finds herself attracted to her best friend's boyfriend.
Cyrus introduces her to Moses an ex-con who is planning to change a bank into a drive-thru church.

A dysfunctional family, drugs, sex, violence, cancer, mental illness, Tusa manages to bring it all together in this book, as in real-life, which does not always mean a happy ending.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, rather it be good or bad.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Rachelle Born reviewed on on Dec. 26, 2012

I won a copy of this book through the LibraryThing member giveaway. All I can say is that this book is amazing. It's horrific, and I don't recommend it if you're someone who gets offended by using Jesus as an excuse to "get even."
The author has a gift for painting pictures through words, and the writing style flowed well. The reader catches a glimpse of the life of a poor family from New Orleans, where the family has its share of dysfunction, but the brother and sister stick together like siblings should.
I look forward to reading more by this author.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
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