Helen is serving a life sentence at Sloatsburg women's prison for the murder of her children.
Dr. Louise Forrest, a recently divorced mother of an eight-year-old boy, is the new chief of psychiatry there.
Captain Ike Bradshaw is the corrections officer who wants her.
And Angie, an ambitious Hollywood starlet contacted by Helen, is intent on nothing but fame.
Drawing these four characters together in a story of shocking and disturbing revelations, The Big Girls is an electrifying novel about the anarchy of families, the sometimes destructive power of maternal instinct, and the cult of celebrity.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Big Girls|
|Release Date: 05-01-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Big Girls|
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The Big Girls
Sloatsburg Correctional Institution, a walled complex of seven large stone buildings, sits on the west bank of the Hudson River. An hour north of Manhattan by train, it was built in the late nineteenth century as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Buildings A, B, and C hold five hundred prisoners of the federal government, all of them women. The remaining buildings are used for clinics, schoolrooms, the chapel, and administration as well as for the laundry, kitchens, library, and machine shop. There is a large plot of land behind Building A where the prisoners grow beans. A high brick wall with two wooden watchtowers occupied by men with rifles surrounds the prison on three sides. The river runs parallel to Building C on the east. There are no guardhouses along the river, which causes me to wonder. Do they think that black women can't swim?
My first day at Sloatsburg—six months ago this Monday—I made a cautious tour of the place, looking over my shoulder as if fearful of my own apprehension. No one seemed to notice, or to care, which I decided was a good sign. I am still making a cautious tour of the place.
I enter each weekday morning through elaborate iron gates, left from the days when Sloatsburg's population was consumptive Irish housemaids and dairy farmers, passing slowly through three security checkpoints with cameras, metal detectors, scanning machines, and electronic hand-checks to a large front hall with a white marble floor. The odor, even in the hall, is female.
My office is on the second floor of Building C. The rooms, on either side of a narrow hall, were once used by patients, but now they are occupied by the medical staff and social