Fiction, Literary

Francie’s Got a Gun by Carrie Snyder

You probably know a Francie or remember one from when you were a kid. Or maybe you were the Francie — the kid who was always a bit dirty, hungry, late for school, left behind at a friend’s house, harried mom and not-quite-there dad.

Francie is 10, and her home life leaves much to be desired. 

Book cover for Francie's Got a Gun

This leads to the titular issue: Francie’s got a gun. She’s running away from everyone and everything because she can’t let go of that gun. Francie is one small piece in all too much chaos, holding all too much adult responsibility because her dad can’t be a responsible adult. Without spoiling the whole novel: that’s why Francie has a gun.

We backtrack through the eyes of a handful of characters, including the friend whose home she stays in too long, the friend’s parents, Francie’s parents, and her long-suffering grandmother, while also jumping into the present with poor, vulnerable Francie and that gun.

Not everyone is going to love this book. It’s hard to follow and as chaotic as Francie’s life. But, it’s also a heartbreaker, especially if you know and love anyone who is or has been caught up in the fallout of their parents’ bad choices. 

The novel is incredibly character-driven — this is not a thriller — but Snyder’s writing had me very invested in those characters from the start. I imagine this could be an uncomfortable read for many, but for me, it was worth the heartbreak to learn more about Francie and her family.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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