Regular price: $23.93

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $23.93

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Add to Library for $0.00

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In Girls of Tender Age, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith fully articulates with great humor and tenderness the wild jubilance of an extended French-Italian family struggling to survive in a post-World War II housing project in Hartford, Connecticut. Smith's Hartford neighborhood is small-town America, where everyone's door is unlocked and the school, church, library, drugstore, 5 & 10, grocery, and tavern are all within walking distance. Her family is peopled with memorable characters: her possibly psychic mother who's always on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her adoring father who makes sure she has something to eat in the morning beyond her usual gulp of Hershey's syrup, her grandfather who teaches her to bash in the heads of the eels they catch on Long Island Sound, Uncle Guido who makes the annual bagna cauda, 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.
Smith's household was "different". Little Mary-Ann couldn't have friends over because her older brother, Tyler, an autistic before anyone knew what that meant, was unable to bear noise of any kind. To him, the sound of crying, laughing, phones ringing, or toilets flushing was "a cloud of barbed needles" flying into his face. Subject to such an assault, he would substitute that pain with another: he'd try to chew his arm off. Tyler was Mary-Ann's real-life Boo Radley, albeit one whose bookshelves sagged under the weight of the World War II books he collected and read obsessively.
Hanging over this rough-and-tumble American childhood is the sinister shadow of an approaching serial killer. The menacing Bob Malm lurks throughout this joyous and chaotic family portrait, and the havoc he unleashes when the paths of innocence and evil cross one early December evening in 1953 forever alters the landscape of Smith's childhood.
©2006 Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (P)2006 Simon & Schuster, Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"Larger than the sum of its parts, this book illuminates a social class as it recounts a tangled story of a family and a crime." (Publishers Weekly)
"The engrossing text makes clear that evil can never be charted accurately enough." (Booklist)
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By claudiajoyce on 05-02-18

Book superb, Audible app - not working for me

This is one of the most compelling books I've "read" in a long time. It pulls at you directly from the heart of all young - or once young - girls.

Unfortunately my Audible app is less than operative. I have a late model car, and an uptodate IOS device. Audible was my choice for drive/listening. It doesn't sync with my Bluetooth, and the book doesn't sync when picked up in intervals.

Technical support was lacking.

Get the book - try another app for auto drive

Read More Hide me
5 out of 5 stars
By Gary on 03-18-17

Subtly moving, quietly humorous and wonderful.

I first listened to this book a few years ago, and it stayed with me , coming back to me whenever I saw or read or listened to a piece with similar themes. I just finished (the loving and hilarious and highly recommended) Tara Clancy's The Clancy's of Queens, and ran right back to Mary-Ann for another listen.

I just love Audible. Such wonders, sitting right on my phone, available to me instantly! Life is good!

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews