Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Review - The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Author:  Anissa Gray
Genre:   Women's Fiction
Publisher:   Berkley Publishing
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  304
Date of Publication February 19, 2018
My Rating:  4 Stars

The Mothers meets An American Marriage 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 page-turning as it is important. 


Althea Butler-Cochran is the oldest of three sisters and has even become the substitute matriarch. Things were not always easy when the girls were growing up, but they did make it in life. Although they made a success of their lives, deep pain had been buried. Althea is married to Proctor and they have two teenage daughters. A horrible scandal occurs and Althea and Proctor are arrested for embezzlement, tried and sentenced to prison.

Her sisters Lillian and Viola must step up and decide who will care for Althea's and Proctor's daughters. The girls, Baby V and Kim, truly struggle when their parents are pulled away from them.

This story is delivered in three first-person points of view, from the perspectives of Althea, Viola and Lillian. As each tell their own stories it becomes quite an emotional tale. Not only is the present explored, but the past comes into play quite a bit. Quite obviously, with Althea being locked up, she is experiencing trials. Viola is a psychologist, so has made it through. However, she is struggling in her relationship. Then there is Lillian, who has taken in Baby V and Kim. She needs help, but that proves to be very difficult for her. 

Then a childhood trauma is explored, and this affects what might happen to the girls if Lillian and Viola are unable to care for them. What the girls go through, especially Kim, is nothing less than tragic. This debut novel is a shocking portrayal of what could happen in a family, and proved to be an moving and excellent read. I look forward to following Anissa Gray.

Many thanks to Berkley Publishing and to Edelweiss for this ARC for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Anissa Gray was born and raised in western Michigan. She graduated from Western Michigan University and received her Masters in English from New York University. After graduate school, Anissa went on to work as a print reporter at Reuters in Manhattan, covering global financial news. That was followed by a move to Atlanta and the initiation of her career in broadcast journalism at CNN, where she has held roles as writer, editor, and producer, receiving Emmy and duPont awards for contributions to the network’s coverage of major stories.

After more than 20 years as a journalist, Anissa, a lifelong book lover and voracious reader, pursued fiction writing, applying her love of storytelling from the realm of real-life, newsworthy happenings to the events and encounters that shape our lives. Her first novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, will be published in 2019.

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