“Dirty Little Angels” by Chris Tusa is a short novel, or a long short story depending on how you look at it, which follows the fictional life of 16 year old Hailey Trosclair. Hailey lives in New Orleans, but could live almost any slum in the world. Her father just lost his job, her mother, a nurse, suffers from depression brought on by poverty (and “what could have
been if…?”) as well as a miscarriage.
A confused teenager, Hailey and her older brother turn to G-d, and befriend Moses who dreams of opening a drive thru church. However Moses drags both kids down a path of no-return.
The story is told in a raw format which helps the reader to be fond of Hailey and understand when her path and choices of trying to do what’s right, turns into everything that’s wrong. The book is dark, not sinister but in a depressing sort of way – yet it is a very captivating read. Mr. Tusa doesn’t explain too much or make the story clear, but let’s the reader figure out several of the finer points. Hailey’s life is not black or white, but various shades of gray where the fine line between right and wrong gets blurred in many instances – especially for an impressionable sixteen year old.
This is a rare book, harsh, haunting, tough and refreshing storytelling with an unexpected twist.