My life as a rat : a novel / Joyce Carol Oates.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "Which should prevail: loyalty to family or loyalty to the truth? Is telling the truth ever a mistake and is lying for one's family ever justified? Can one do the right thing, but bitterly regret it? ... My Life as a Rat follows Violet Rue Kerrigan, a young woman who looks back upon her life in exile from her family following her testimony, at age twelve, concerning what she knew to be the racist murder of an African-American boy by her older brothers. In a succession of vividly recalled episodes Violet contemplates the circumstances of her life as the initially beloved youngest child of seven Kerrigan children who inadvertently "informs" on her brothers, setting into motion their arrests and convictions and her own long estrangement"--Publisher description.
    • Notes:
      Narrated by Sadie Alexandru.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      OATES, J. C. My life as a rat : a novel. [s. l.]: Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019. ISBN 9780062899835. Disponível em: Acesso em: 11 dez. 2019.
    • AMA:
      Oates JC. My Life as a Rat : A Novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers; 2019. Accessed December 11, 2019.
    • APA:
      Oates, J. C. (2019). My life as a rat : a novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Retrieved from
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Oates, Joyce Carol. 2019. My Life as a Rat : A Novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.
    • Harvard:
      Oates, J. C. (2019) My life as a rat : a novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Available at: (Accessed: 11 December 2019).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Oates, JC 2019, My life as a rat : a novel, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, viewed 11 December 2019, .
    • MLA:
      Oates, Joyce Carol. My Life as a Rat : A Novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Oates, Joyce Carol. My Life as a Rat : A Novel. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Oates JC. My life as a rat : a novel [Internet]. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers; 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 11]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2019 May #1

On the night a popular high-school student from South Niagara's black neighborhood is murdered, 12-year-old Violet Rue Kerrigan overhears her brothers, Jerr and Lionel, talking about a fight. Realizing that Violet has been eavesdropping, they exact a promise of silence, one that Lionel reinforces by viciously assaulting his sister. Violet cracks under the combined pressures of secrecy, violence, and the relentless tension of living in a household where her parents' approval is always sought, rarely given. She unburdens herself to a teacher, leading to her brothers' arrest and the intervention from Child Protective Services, which sends Violet to live with relatives in another city. But Violet is far from safe, and her vulnerability renders her the perfect prey for pedophiles at home and school and at the mercy of domineering men for the rest of her life. Oates' frequent themes of exile, predators and their victims, racial conflicts, and gender violence coalesce in this psychologically and socially complex portrait of a young woman's struggle as she loses her family but finds herself. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2019 January #1

Violet Rue Kerrigan was once the adored youngest of seven children, but when at age 12 she inadvertently reveals the role her older brothers played in the murder of an African American boy, she is cast out by both family and church. As the novel says, "A painful truth of family life: the most tender emotions can change in an instant. You think your parents love you but is it you they love, or the child who is theirs?" With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2019 April #5

Oates's remarkable latest (after 2018's Hazards of Time Travel) chronicles how a 12-year-old girl's fate is determined after her family disowns her. The story opens in 1991 as Violet Rue Kerrigan, the youngest in a large Irish-Catholic family where loyalty is highly valued, grows up doted on by her loving but short-tempered father. She witnesses what later turns out to be her eldest brothers, teenagers Jerome and Lionel, attempting to get rid of evidence that they had participated in the racially charged beating of a high school kid. Violet's guilt—compounded by Lionel assaulting her and the death of their victim—makes her blurt out the truth unsolicited. Her parents, who can't bring themselves to believe the truth about their sons, send Violet to live with an aunt in an upstate New York town 80 miles away. Violet spends her life hoping for her family's change of heart and worrying about her brothers' retaliation. Her urge to not betray anyone again makes her vulnerable to sexual abuse by a teacher and a lecherous uncle. Despite it all, Violet becomes a survivor who ekes out a living through manual labor and manages to attend college at night. Oates's novel adroitly touches on race, loyalty, misogyny, and class inequality while also telling a moving story with a winning narrator. This book should please her fans and win her new ones. (June)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.