Dirty Little Angels
Tusa’s “Dirty Little Angels” vividly describes the poverty of the people 1n places like New Orleans’ ninth ward pre-Katrina. A fifteen year-old girl, Haley, tells this story in the first person as she struggles to find herself. Haley’s narration of her dysfunctional family, her blighted neighborhood, and the people who live there draws the reader into her world.
The book was written in 2009 while the author was at the University of Alabama. It is obvious to this reader that he has a first hand knowledge of the people and a feel for New Orleans that few outsiders see. However, the problems that Haley and her nineteen year-old brother face are universal. The two young people discover that your friends are not always who you think they are, and parents are human. Mom and Dad make mistakes in judgment that affects their children.
Overall, the book is well written, and is a good read. I only found a few word mix-ups and errors, but I read what appeared to be the first draft— supplied by the author—in a PDF format. I am sure these mistakes have been edited and corrected for the printing of the book. Dirty Little Angels is definitely an adult book (18+). Haley and her brother struggle with, poverty, drugs, and a seedy character that involves them in criminal activities. God does not appear to be interested in saving her family, and that chore is taken on by the fifteen year-old.
This book is not a light read, though it is totally engrossing. Great character development by the author. I think that Christopher is a rising young literary star.
Reviewed by J.M. Anton