The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
4 out of 5 stars (417 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“If you enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls...an absorbing commentary on love, family, and forgiveness.” (The Washington Post)

“A fast-paced, intriguing story...the novel’s real achievement is its uncommon perceptiveness on the origins and variations of addiction.” (The New York Times Book Review)

One of the most anticipated reads of 2019 from Vogue, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Essence, Bustle, HelloGiggles, and Cosmo!

The Mothers meets An American Marriage” (HelloGiggles) in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials - as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest - but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with, and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat, the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as pause-resisting as it is important. 

Cast of Narrators:

January LaVoy as Viola

Adenrele Ojo as Althea

Bahni Turpin as Lillian

Dominic Hoffman as Proctor

©2019 Anissa Gray (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

An Indie Next, Library Reads, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Marie Claire’s #ReadwithMC March Book Club Pick! 

"The inequities of the justice system, the fortitude of women of color, and the bittersweet struggle to connect are rendered ravishly in this bighearted novel." (Oprah Magazine

"Gray's nuanced, lyrical debut is a moving examination of the ties that bind and - nearly as often - bless." (People

“[An] intimate family saga sure to appeal to fans of Tayari Jones and Celeste Ng.” (Entertainment Weekly

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What listeners say about The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good read; Starts more conversations than it answers

Gray is clearly a talented writer with an interest in character development. This book came highly recommended from friends and I can see why. I ultimately enjoyed it and truly appreciated the multiple subject areas broached within the storyline of the characters. I also appreciated the Biblical allusions and symbolic refrains around water. It served to underscore a soothing back channel to the various challenged and strained character conflicts that unfold the entire story.
I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys fiction that serves as social commentary or anyone who enjoys narratives with multiple points of view.
The greatest criticism I had was that for all the elements previously stated that Gray clearly did well in producing, I almost felt there was more there than could be fully addressed. The “happy ending” side of me longed for greater resolution to at least a few of the deeper conflicts. While I believe Gray’s intent was to not overwrite and allow the reader some area for speculation & so I respect how this novel is truly a great book club selection and conversation piece. I selfishly wanted either a little more focus for resolution purposes or clarity in character motivation that preempted much of the conflict.
I always have a healthy respect though for authors who provide a good story and don’t do exactly what I want and I still like it anyway. I see it as a good challenge.
However if you’re looking for a cookie cutter novel that wraps up nicely in the end with redemption and a traditional plot line- this may not be the book for you.
Again- good read and well done in both story and narration.

8 people found this helpful

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Tangled Earbuds 58

I really enjoyed this story. The voice actors were very good. The story is good. Interesting characters that I could care about and the story was engaging. I would like to find more stories with these voice actors. Anissa Gray did a good job. I hope she writes more books.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved It!

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is an absorbing and compassionate account of a family deep in crisis. It's beautifully written, rich with emotional insight, and has characters so engaging and fully developed that they all but walk off the page. The narration is superb. I couldn't stop listening and didn't want it to end. This is one of the best books I've ever "read".

Highly recommend.

12 people found this helpful

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I wanted to like this story more than I did.

the readers were wonderful, but I found myself struggling to finish this book, although I did. It just seemed jumbled to me and hard to follow.

2 people found this helpful

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A deep look into generational trauma

I love this book for the way that it dug into deep generational trauma and the way that it just perpetuates itself no matter how hard you try. You've got these siblings that lost their mother, were mostly abandoned by their father, and abused by a family member. You're reminder that no matter how grown you get you bring that baggage with you and it seeps out into your life. The character development and narration were perfect imo. If you can't feel for these characters and end the book bawling then you've got no soul.

2 people found this helpful

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Slow, but worth finishing

It was a little slow, but interesting enough that I wanted to finish the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Meh.....just ok

could have been better, just ok. felt as though something was missing, like the story wasn't complete.

3 people found this helpful

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Not for me

Based on the reviews on different blogs and book sites I expected this one to blow me away. It didn't. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I was supposed to feel sympathy for Kim and not enough time knowing the sisters.

Also at some point it began to feel like the author was just throwing every type of trauma at the characters that she could just to see how many would fit.

I wanted to enjoy this one but it just wasn't a good fit for me.

2 people found this helpful

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Second listen

I enjoyed this book. This time is my second listen. I missed so much the first time. I recommend this read.

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Depressing and Dark

The book seemed to drag on too long. It was difficult to keep the characters straight. I didn’t enjoy it.

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  • Kate Smith
  • 05-06-19

Excellent storyline, very well read.

Really enjoyed this story. Very well narrated by a good cast. The story involves the family of a couple in prison, how their childhood experiences shaped them and how their own children are subsequently affected. The story follows the extended family and how they work through these issues which initially divide them and ultimately bring them together.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 03-03-19

The redeeming power of love

Even in families, love can heal deep wounds. Time can be traversed without further injury, even hard times. How much courage dies it take to love enough for this to happen? This book explores how much.

1 person found this helpful