- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (Aug. 1 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452272319
- ISBN-13: 978-0452272316
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #112,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang Paperback – Aug 1 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Oates depicts a gang of five adolescent girls growing up amidst violence and frustration in upstate New York during the 1950s.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
$21. F Oates, one of America's most distinguished and prolific writers, has triumphed again with this deftly crafted, highly imaginative novel about a girl gang called Foxfire and its leader, Legs Sadovsky. Legs is many things: a female Robin Hood, a Marxist revolutionary, a highly intelligent naif, an incredibly bold, indestructible heroine. Legs, who is wise beyond her years, dominates Foxfire with her superiority. But Legs is not a writer; that responsibility she delegates to Maddy Wirtz, who becomes the official chronicler of Foxfire's history. Later in life, in search of elusive truth, Maddy returns to her notebooks and relives her Foxfire days of the 1950s, a decade she and her female contemporaries (of all ages) experienced through violence, fear, and oppression. The forces that gave rise to Foxfire and the bonds that kept it together raise many interesting questions about gender, social status, and sexuality. As in any Oates novel, these multiple themes intertwine to create a richly textured piece. Highly recommended.
- Janet Wilson Reit, Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Another excellent point that the book covers is group dynamics. Teamwork and its multiple facets, the roles people assume in a group context, the cliques, the power plays, and the dominating/submissive personalities.
I am surprised no one has brought up the erotic overtones of these relationships, especially between Legs and Maddy. Is it sisterly love only? In my opinion, these girls were so hungry for love and their interactions with males had been so catastrophic that by exclusion they were inclined to homosexuality. Although these feelings were never realized, they are so real and so complete that 40 years later Maddy still cries about Legs.
This is one of those texture books, where you can intensely see, smell, taste, and hear what is going on in the page. The scenes about Legs in solitary confinement are particularly vivid.
I like the ending a lot, from the time of Maddy's visit to Rita, to the final comments about the transcripts. JCO is a master at what she does. She was able to concentrate the whole essence of the book in one final sentence, one of the most brilliant endings i have ever read.
If you're looking for absolutely the most feminist book possible, I suppose you could find aspects of this one that aren't; perhaps it judges its characters and perhaps it doesn't. I didn't care. As long as it was making me think about girls, the times described in the book (the 50s), and the travails thereof, my feminist needs were being met.
I think this book should be taught in schools.
1.) Poor grammar. "Foxfire" is full of major gramatical errors. There are sentences that run-on for pages. It was not uncommon to find one paragraph that would span two or even three pages. It is unnecessarily wordy, words are capitalized for no reason, and there is virtually no punctuation.
2.) The characterization is poor and confusing. For example: why did nearly everyone's name in the book begin with the letter "M"? You've got: Margaret, Marg'ret, Maddy, Muriel, and Marianne. Furthermore, most of the characters have several names. The main character, "Maddy," is called various names throughout the book: Madeline, Maddy, Monkey, Killer, etc. Almost every character has about four names they are called by.
3.) The story follows no logical order. It skips from past to present, first person to third person. Many plot points are started but never followed up. Plus, the main character, "Maddy," writes in great descriptive detail about things she could not possibly know (other characters thoughts and feelings, people she did not even know).
4.) The ending is unsatisfactory, and not the least bit believable. I don't want to ruin the surprise, so I won't go into detail. But I will say this: we're expected to believe that the main character, a hardcore gang member who defies authority and shuns school goes on to become a successful astronomer for NASA? What the heck!?
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