Quotes from Lullabies for Little Criminals

Heather O'Neill ·  330 pages

Rating: (16.3K votes)


“People give you a hard time about being a kid at twelve. They didn't want to give you Halloween candy anymore. They said things like, "If this were the Middle Ages, you'd be married and you'd own a farm with about a million chickens on it." They were trying to kick you out of childhood. Once you were gone, there was no going back, so you had to hold on as long as you could.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“From the way that people have always talked about your heart being broken, it sort of seemed to be a one-time thing. Mine seemed to break all the time.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Suddenly I realized that I wanted everything to be as it was when I was younger. When you're young enough, you don't know that you live in a cheap lousy apartment. A cracked chair is nothing other than a chair. A dandelion growing out of a crack in the sidewalk outside your front door is a garden. You could believe that a song your parent was singing in the evening was the most tragic opera in the world. It never occurs to you when you are very young to need something other than what your parents have to offer you.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Becoming a child again is what is impossible. That's what you have a legitimate reason to be upset over. Childhood is the most valuable thing that's taken away from you in life, if you think about it.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“If you want to get a child to love you, then you should just go hide in the closet for three or for hours. They get down on their knees and pray for you to return. That child will turn you into God. Lonely children probably wrote the Bible.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



“Childhood is the most valuable thing that's taken away from you in life, if you think about it.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Lonely children probably wrote the Bible.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“When she said sweet things in my ear, it would slide right down into my heart”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Love is a big and wonderful idea, but life is made up of small things. As a kid, you have nothing to do with the way the world is run; you just have to hurry to catch up with it.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“The stars are always up in the sky...then when it is perfectly black, they feel less vulnerable and out they come.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



“My breath in the cold air was bleach that accidentally spilled on a black t-shirt.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“The real first kiss is the one that tells you what it feels like to be an adult and doesn't let you be a child anymore. The first kiss is the one that you suffer the consequences of. It was as if I had been playing Russian roulette and finally got the cylinder with the bullet in it.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Xavier wasn’t put on the earth to witness the bad htings like Jules and I were. He had been put here to notice lovely things, things that God had created and no one had any complaints about. Leaves turning red in the autumn. How when the tide goes out, the shells are left on the shore. I was put here - Jules and I were both put here - to see sadder things. We had to stand in the rain and explain why the world was a lovely place.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“The night was a typewriter key that got stuck and kept punching all the letters on top of the others until all that was left was a black blob. No word, no letter, no message in the night for me.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“I've been all over the place in all kinds of living situations. Due to the fact that my mind is my own worst enemy. In a way I am perpetually and permanently in a state of rehabilitation m in an attempt to rehabilitate from the shock of being born.Some people are too sensitive to withstand that.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



“Somewhere, a sparrow is singing in B minor.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Sometimes when you are standing still and it’s snowing, you think that you hear music. You can’t tell where it’s coming from either. I wondered if we all really did have a soundtrack, but we just get so used to it that we can’t hear it anymore, the same way that we block out the sound of our own heartbeat.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“You see only the beautiful things when you stand still. You only see things that you don't ordinarily notice. The birds are the prettiest things, I imagine.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“You know you're my best friend, right?' he said.
I shrugged. I guessed it was true. Now that I wasn't going to be at the parade, they would all hate me. Everything had been carefully choreographed, and me not being there would throw them all off. I realized that kids like Theo and me weren't supposed to have real friends. We were supposed to be all alone and confused. By being each other's friend, we were defying our laws of gravity.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“When you're a kid, if you watch 'The Jeffersons' with your family at seven o'clock, it seems like a natural phenomenon, like the sun setting. The universe is a strange, strange place when all of a sudden you can't use your glass with the Bionic Woman on it any more.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



“When you’re young, sex doesn’t mean as much, it isn’t sacred. Children make the best prostitutes because they’re th emost perfunctory about the whole encounter. The whole act is like a dare, like kissing a frog or something. It’s nasty while it’s happening, but you forget about it soon afterward. And sometimes it isn’t even that nasty. Whatever it is, it’s so far from love.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“When I thought about my old friends Linus Lucas and Theo, I realized they were not really criminals either. They were like me. We were just acting out the strangest, tragic little roles, pretending to be criminals in order to get by. We gave very convincing performances.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“I have an artistic temperament, which is a really tragic thing.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“They often got my file mixed up and thought that I had gone to juvenile detention for being a prostitute. All I had done was date a pimp.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Your superhuman power was to be able not to feel. Is it there inside everybody, this self that comes out while you are in captivity? You become the closest approximation of yourself that can tolerate living there.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



“I went into the room and sat next to Linus on the bed. I put my hand on his shoulder. I was always surprised at how soft other people were. I thought I felt his heartbeat, although it could have been my own.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“Jules and I were tiny people. We were delicate. We were almost destroyed. We were vulnerable. Like nerds in a school yard of bullies, we could have traded our stamps and cards of extinct animals. That’s the kind of people we would be if our situation were different.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“People gave you a hard time about being a kid at twelve. They didn't want to give you Halloween candy anymore. They said things like, "If this was the Middle Ages, you'd be married and you'd own a farm with a million chickens on it." They were trying to kick you out of childhood. Once you were gone, there was no going back, so you had to hold on as long as you could. Marika was beckoning from the other side.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“I turned to the page on decorated buttons and tried to ponder their beauty instead of my own loneliness, trying to will myself into being a sociopath.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals


“I closed my eyes and the roof was gone. I could see the stars while the piano tinkled. I could see Jupiter and it was blue, and Neptune was silver like a tennis ball sprayed silver. I could reach out and touch it, like cold water.”
― Heather O'Neill, quote from Lullabies for Little Criminals



About the author

Heather O'Neill
Born place: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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