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Little (Grrl) Lost
Charles de Lint
Viking, 270 pages

Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint was born in 1951 in Bussum, the Netherlands, and emigrated to Canada at the age of four months. He now lives in Ottawa. He published three novels under the pseudonym Samuel M Key which have subsequently been reprinted by Orb Books as Charles de Lint. Many of his later stories center around the mythical North American city of Newford and a regular cast of characters that make cameo and feature appearances. He has received many awards including the 2000 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection for Moonlight and Vines. He has also published a children's book, Circle of Cats, with artist Charles Vess.

Charles de Lint Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Widdershins
SF Site Review: Triskell Tales 2
SF Site Review: Moonlight and Vines
SF Site Review: Quicksilver & Shadow
SF Site Review: The Wild Wood
SF Site Review: Mulengro
SF Site Review: A Handful of Coppers
SF Site Review: The Onion Girl
SF Site Review: Forests of the Heart
SF Site Reading List: Charles de Lint
SF Site Review: Jack of Kinrowan
SF Site Review: Moonlight and Vines, A Newford Collection
SF Site Review: Someplace to be Flying

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

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Little (Grrl) Lost Little (Grrl) Lost is an examination of two adolescent girls who don't feel they fit in, although for very different reasons. Charles de Lint successfully depicts the girls, who are as different as their circumstances.

One of the girls is T.J., a fourteen-year-old whose family has had to sell their farm, and T.J.'s horse, and move to the city. The city is a foreign place to T.J. who maintains her sanity by texting with her friend Julie. Even that bond is threatened, however, when Elizabeth comes into T.J.'s life.

Elizabeth is a Little, an eighteen-inch-tall girl whose family lives in the walls of the house T.J.'s family has bought. Just as T.J. feels her parents don't understand what she's going through, Elizabeth also feels separated from her parents, who don't realize she's grown up. That, actually, is one of the major differences between the girls. T.J., at fourteen, is still reasonably comfortable with her parents, although she would like a little more freedom, as well as a return to the life she led on the farm. Elizabeth, at seventeen, is anxious to get out from under what she sees as her parents' repressive thumbs and make her own way in the world.

When the two girls discover a local author has written a book about the Littles, they decide to visit the author to learn more about Elizabeth's background. Along the way, T.J. learns just how dangerous the big city can be and the girls get separated. At this point, de Lint alternates chapters between the two characters' viewpoints.

Unfortunately, this causes a problem. His chapters, which end with cliffhangers, are a little too long for this format. By the time a chapter ends and allows for the resolution of the previous cliffhanger, the reader has essentially moved on from that part of the story. The technique is fine and de Lint's cliffhangers are good, he just needed to use them with shorter chapters.

Long chapters also don't help when the two characters' stories are so different. Indicative of their characters, T.J. works hard at not only accomplishing the goal she and Elizabeth set out on, but also in her search for Elizabeth. In many ways, despite being several years younger than Elizabeth, T.J. comes across as more mature, although her treatment of Geoff, a bookstore clerk who helps her in a variety of ways, does show her immaturity and youth.

Elizabeth's chapters are essentially a tour of fairieland in the city where the girls live. She not only meets up with other Littles, but a variety of other fairie creatures as she works to find a place for herself and seeks acceptance (while she also learns to accept the world around her). While T.J. has more maturity than Elizabeth, the Little is able to demonstrate more growth throughout the novel.

De Lint has created two interesting characters, who work even better when juxtaposed against each other. While the story doesn't seem to have quite the right pacing, his world, both the mundane world T.J. lives in and the magical world Elizabeth is part of, are well realized and the points at which a character can cross between them are well defined. The characters' growth is handled well without being preachy and de Lint demonstrates a strong understanding that there is a difference between fourteen and seventeen.

Copyright © 2007 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a seven-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.


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