Ellen is an old woman in a child's body; her frail, unhappy mother dies, her abusive father alternately neglects her and makes advances on her, and she is shuttled from one uncaring relative's home to another before she finally takes matters into her own hands and finds herself a place to belong. There is something almost Dickensian about Ellen's tribulations; like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield or a host of other literary child heroes, Ellen is at the mercy of predatory adults, with only her own wit and courage--and the occasional kindness of others--to help her through. That she does, in fact, survive her childhood and even rise above it is the book's bittersweet victory.
Gripping. The reader should clear his head in order to follow the plain, yet complex progress of a young girl whose goal is to achieve a simple, normal childhood. Kaye Gibbons is by far one of today's serious authors, and her talent is demonstrated by this compelling story.
Well, I guess I am a dissenting voice because I did not like this book at all. I understand how important the message is, but the writing style and such just turned me off. I finished the book, but only because it was so short. Otherwise, I would have given up sooner. No more Kaye Gibbons for me.
I found this story to be very difficult to follow. I thought maybe I just wasn't "getting" it, so I put it down for a few weeks and tried again. I normally like Oprah picks, but there have been a few lately that leave me shrugging - this is at the top of that list!
Very engaging story -- I liked it so well, I listened to it twice. The narrator and author, Kaye Gibbons, has the perfect voice for reading the story. You believe you are really listening to Ellen Foster.