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Anatomy of a Girl Gang

de Ashley Little

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Winner, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes) Finalist, Vancouver Book Award A sharply observed novel told in six voices, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is the powerful exploration of a young girl gang in Vancouver called the Black Roses: Mac, the self-appointed leader and mastermind; Mercy, the Punjabi princess with a skill for theft; Kayos, their former classmate who gave birth to a daughter at age thirteen; Sly Girl, who fled her First Nations reserve for a better life, only to find depravity and addiction; and Z, a sixteen-year-old anti-establishment graffiti artist. Cast out by mainstream society, the five girls terrorize Vancouver with a primal, restless urgency. As they navigate from ATM robberies to cooking crack on the stove to savagely avenging the beating of one of their own, they hope and wait for better days that will turn into a better life, even as the darkness of fate draws inevitably nearer. Told with shocking and at times brutal honesty, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is a vivid and unnerving story of urban girl culture.… (mais)
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Anatomy of a Girl Gang – A touching story of vulnerability that’s brutal, edgy and explosive

Five young women, all from seriously dysfunctional backgrounds, form the Black Roses, a girl gang that provides them with safety, family, purpose and love as well as cash from their criminal pursuits.

The leader, Mac, has a mother’s who's a junkie; Mercy, an Indo-Canadian, has lost her parents as a child; Kayos, the Shaughnessy kid has been sexually abused by her step-father; Sly Girl, the Native Indian has escapes the hell that’s the rez, and Z, the Chinese graffiti artist can’t conform to her New Canadian family’s cultural expectations.

For a short time these young women, hardly more than girls, come together and share a special bond, but living outside the law as well as dealing with addictions and the psychological issues that haunt them gradually begin to erode the Black Roses from within and without.

Author Ashley Little tells this story from the POV of the five members. Her voice uses street slang that sounds authentic, as do her descriptions of life on the mean streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The writing is fresh, flawless, and powerfully simple. The plot is brutal, edgy and explosive. The format uses short chapters, graphic headings and jumps back and forth from character to character but manages to remain cohesive and extremely readable.

The author took some chances in writing style, format and subject matter and succeeded in all three. Anatomy of a Girl Gang is a ground breaker and worthy of the accolade it’s been receiving. ( )
  RodRaglin | Oct 21, 2015 |
This very quick read is a disjointed novel told in the voices of different members of the titular gang, and the anthropomorphized voice of "Vancouver". While effective (and enjoyable to read how different characters would report the same details quite differently), the "Vancouver" voice comes across as cheesy and preachy and effectively ruins the gravity of the subject and the story as a whole. The print run also had some production errors (a graphic was missing, then printed over text on another page, etc.). ( )
  spuriouscarrie | Oct 11, 2014 |
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Winner, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes) Finalist, Vancouver Book Award A sharply observed novel told in six voices, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is the powerful exploration of a young girl gang in Vancouver called the Black Roses: Mac, the self-appointed leader and mastermind; Mercy, the Punjabi princess with a skill for theft; Kayos, their former classmate who gave birth to a daughter at age thirteen; Sly Girl, who fled her First Nations reserve for a better life, only to find depravity and addiction; and Z, a sixteen-year-old anti-establishment graffiti artist. Cast out by mainstream society, the five girls terrorize Vancouver with a primal, restless urgency. As they navigate from ATM robberies to cooking crack on the stove to savagely avenging the beating of one of their own, they hope and wait for better days that will turn into a better life, even as the darkness of fate draws inevitably nearer. Told with shocking and at times brutal honesty, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is a vivid and unnerving story of urban girl culture.

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