*** My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates

In the typical dark Oates way, My Life as a Rat stars a panicked tween who blurts out to a police officer that her brothers killed an Africa-American schoolmate, and is shunned by her family into a lonely, unloved life that leaves her vulnerable to all sorts of exploitative men. There is a very small glimmer of hope at the end, but it’s a grim tale, and to me was most evocative of the havoc that one psychopathic brother can wreak.

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