Book Review of Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

Book Review of Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

A Story by Naomi Bloom
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A book review of Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates.

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Assigned to read the book for a university english course, I had no idea I would be reading one of the most incredible novels I have ever read but also one of the strangest and most different.  


Foxfire is set in the mid-fifties.  When a group of girls notice a teacher sexually assaulting a girl named Rita they decide to do something about it.  The five girls form a girl-gang called Foxfire, led by the fearless Legs Sadovsky, and take revenge against the cruel men in Hammond, New York.  Foxfire becomes awesomely powerful and brings about positive change, from humiliating a pedophile to saving animals from inhumane conditions.  


As I read the first part of the novel, I felt myself mentally cheering along as the girls took revenge and fought for justice.  Joyce Carol Oates deals with sexism and questions the patriarchal society in which we live.  All of the selfish, greedy psychopaths in Hammond were served their just desserts by the five teenage girls in all their fearsome glory, often with plenty of hilarity.  The plot was constantly gripping as the situations the gang entered into became increasingly dangerous.  The existence of a powerful girl-gang in the sexist fifties bringing about justice and standing up for women of all kinds was very inspiring and the novel filled me with hope. 


As I began to read the novel I was slightly thrown off by the run-on sentences, lack of capitalization and less-than-perfect grammar as well as the use of slang and profanity.  It was very different from the type of diction I was used to reading and it took a while to get used to the style.  However, I found the style of narrating added energy and breathlessness to the story told by Maddy.


I was sad to finish Foxfire; I wish it never ended.  I would have liked to learn more about V.V., who seemed like an interesting, if not freakishly insane, character. 


My only knowledge of Foxfire before reading it was the fact that many Canadian parents had been angered by its inclusion in high school curriculums.  After reading the novel it is easy to see why parents might find the novel inappropriate; it contains sexuality, homosexuality, violence, profanity, drugs and racism.  It also questions the concepts of God, authority and education itself which could be the real reason why parents find this novel problematic.  One of the parents petitioning against Oates’ book described the novel as “nothing but a cheap imported sex manual from the United States, glorifying the homosexual behaviour of its lead character” in an anti-Foxfire flyer.  However, I think that is an overly simple way of examining the book.


In my opinion Foxfire was perfect and I would give it five stars out of five.  I would not recommend it to children or preteens because of the abundance of inappropriate content.  However I think it is fine for teenagers and adults, since the main characters are teenagers and I think many lessons can be learned from this book; bravery, being loyal to one’s friends, questioning authority and helping out people who are being tormented by bullies.


Rating: 5/5

© 2013 Naomi Bloom


Author's Note

Naomi Bloom
For more information on the controversy surrounding Foxfire, read these articles:

http://www.snn-rdr.ca/old/jun97/june/cath1tf.htm

http://www.theinterim.com/issues/society-culture/when-school-boards-usurp-parents-rights/

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Added on February 3, 2013
Last Updated on February 3, 2013
Tags: foxfire, confessions of a girl gang, joyce carol oates, fiction, thriller, book review, article, author, book, literature, writing, review, criticism, fifties, legs sadovsky, maddy, rita, goldie, lana

Author

Naomi Bloom
Naomi Bloom

Ontario, Canada



About
An amateur writer of poems, short stories and other types of writing. I recently graduated from university and I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. Victorian England, name meanings, be.. more..

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