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Extended Audio Sample Girls of Tender Age: A Memoir, by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (693 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary-Ann Tirone Smith Narrator: Mary-Ann Tirone Smith Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In Girls of Tender Age, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith seamlessly combines a memoir whose intimacy matches that of Angela's Ashes with the tale of a community plagued by a malevolent predator that holds the emotional and cultural resonance of The Lovely Bones.

Smith's Hartford, Connecticut neighborhood is small-town America, a post-World War II housing project where everyone's door is unlocked and everything is within walking distance. Her family is peopled with memorable characters-her possibly psychic mother, her adoring father, and the numerous aunts and cousins who parade through her life with love and food and endless stories of the old days.

And then there's her brother, Tyler, Mary-Ann's real-life Boo Radley. An autistic before anyone knew what that meant, Tyler was unable to bear noise of any kind. The sound of crying, laughing, phones ringing, or toilets flushing was such an assault, he would substitute that pain with another: he'd try to chew his arm off.

Hanging over this chaotic, but joyous American childhood is the sinister shadow of an approaching serial killer. The menacing Bob Malm lurks throughout this family portrait, and when the paths of innocence and evil cross one early December evening in 1953, the havoc he unleashes forever alters the landscape of Smith's childhood. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A masterful fiction writer tells her own story: one little girl dies, the other comes of age and gives voice to herself and her murdered friend. Riveting, heartbreaking, hilarious, I loved this book for its compassion, its vividness, and its flashes of justifiable anger. A life-affirming read.” 

    Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author

  • “With intelligence, disarming humor, and deep affection for the families and the neighborhoods of the 1950s, Girls of Tender Age speaks eloquently on behalf of children and confronts the crippling silences that damage us in any era.” 

    Washington Post

  • “This beautiful memoir succeeds not only in recovering the author’s past, but also in uncovering and ordering the few sordid facts of the crime and creating a narrative where one was not allowed to exist…Riveting and suspenseful.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “A riveting memoir that encompasses the murder of a schoolmate by a pedophile and life with a brother who suffered from autism.” 


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bobbi | 2/15/2014

    " Part memoir- part true crime. Wonderful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marsha | 2/15/2014

    " Memoir of growing up in a 1950's family of modest means and the effect a local murder has on the author, her family and her neighborhood. Filled with period details and social observation. Especially touching was the plight of her family due to the strains of raising an autistic child, especially when it was so alien and misunderstood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Xenia0201 | 2/6/2014

    " Really moving story of the author growing up in Hartford, CT in the 1950's with her autistic brother and family with Italian and French Canadian roots. A truly disturbing horrific event changes everything and years later she explores its affect on her since she never was allowed closure or even an opportunity to deal with it. I couldn't put the book down and read it straight through in 6 hours. Somehow, someway, I felt a connection to Tirone-Smith. I found humor in her descriptions of her autistic brother who reminded me of a cousin I have. Maybe because certain events and themes reminded me of Autumn Street by Lois Lowry, though this isn't in any way fictional. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tracy | 1/31/2014

    " The author wrote this novel about her life with a large extended family, an autistic brother and her parents - one parent who essentially checked out and one parent who was completed devoted to her brother's care. Interestingly, the devoted parent was her father. Central to her life was the murder of a school friend that occurred when she was 9. The murder was never discussed at home or school despite the fact that it happened just blocks from her home. Later in life, after the author had written several novels, she decided to learn more about the murder, the trial and the killer's life. The result is this novel. "

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