Crooked Little Heart Critical Essays

Anne Lamott

Crooked Little Heart

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

CROOKED LITTLE HEART tells the story of young Rosie Ferguson on and off the tennis court. Rosie struggles with adolescent fears and hopes. She and her partner Simone are highly ranked doubles players on the junior circuit. Each comes from a caring, but dysfunctional family. Each seeks love. Simone flaunts herself; Rosie cheats at tennis. Guilt leads Rosie into a downward spiral of self abuse. She also endures the death of a dear friend, and her mother Elizabeth’s erratic behavior.

Author Anne Lamott uses vivid imagery and flashbacks to expose the unresolved emotional wounds Rosie and Elizabeth still share, stemming from the sudden death of Rosie’s father years earlier. Rosie simultaneously seeks the nurturing of a little girl and the autonomy of a young adult. Elizabeth, confused, shields her husband James from their grief.

Rosie finds solace in a mysterious stranger. Luther, an unsavory character courtside, frightens Rosie. Yet, she is attracted to him. He watches her. He knows her game. He knows she cheats. It is Luther who offers Rosie the insight necessary to be a winner in tennis and in life. He teaches her to admit and accept her mistakes and their consequences, to deal with her losses, and to move on. When Elizabeth comes to understand his wisdom, she is able to accept Andrew’s death and renew her relationship with James. Rosie thus gains the freedom to blossom as she journeys toward adulthood on the courts, and in her own heart.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. XCIII, April 1, 1997, p. 1281.

Chicago Tribune. April 20, 1997, XIV, p. 4.

Kirkus Reviews. LXV, February 15, 1997, p. 245.

Library Journal. CXXII, April 1, 1997, p. 127.

The New York Times Book Review. CII, August 17, 1997, p. 21.

Newsweek. CXXIX, April 28, 1997, p. 78.

Publishers Weekly. CCXLIV, February 17, 1997, p. 208.

Tennis. XXXIII, October, 1997, p. 82.

The Washington Post Book World. XXVII, April 13, 1997, p. 6.