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Crooked Little Heart

Humbert Humbert rhapsodized memorably about Lolita’s elegant, if ineffectual, tennis game; something about this beautiful, warbling novel, Crooked Little Heart, feels like that unfortunate kid’s revenge. The bookish heroine of Anne Lamott’s 1983 Rosie has grown into a tennis-loving 13-year-old who, ruing the wayward ways of those around her (pregnant doubles partner, preoccupied mother), still mourns her idealized, long-dead dad. As Rosie plays, occasionally cheating, she’s watched by a presumed pervert named Luther — the kind of man ol’ H.H. might have become were he suddenly teleported to Lamott’s convivial Northern California world, where characters cook pesto for dinner and bring their kids to 12-step meetings. No nymphets here — just as much poetry as could possibly be extracted from a difficult adolescence. A

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