Book Reviews of Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster
Ellen Foster
Author: Kaye Gibbons
ISBN-13: 9781860496059
ISBN-10: 1860496059
Publication Date: 4/1/1998
Rating:
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2

3.3 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Time Warner Books Uk
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

83 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 8
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.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 137 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
If ;you like Kaye Gibbons~~~~~backwoods Southern with homegrown characters with homegrown philosophies, you will love this book. I did. Oprah did. It is a very short, very satisfying read. About 4 stars on this one.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 2
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!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Couldn't put it down. Short book though, so a quick read. Makes you want to read all the authors other work.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 2
Loved this book and got sucked into the rhythm of it right away. The narrator (child) has a unique voice and the story is so poignant, yet she relates everything in such a matter-of-fact, straightforward way, which is often the way that a young person deals with such circumstances; they just get through it. A quick read and you can see why this was an award winner.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
one of my favorite books ever! rates right up there with To Kill A Mockingbird!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
You will be completely absorbed in this book! Loved it.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book but it is not light reading. I thought she got this little girl's voice right on. It's an Oprah pick if that matters.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 179 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The girl in this book is a tough little survivor and will make any problems you have seem like nothing. I am going to get the next one as soon as I find it.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book - it was amazing and I couldn't put it down. I subsequently searched for all Kay Gibbons' other books to devour after this one. You just lose yourself in her stories - fantastic!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
fantastic prose. first rate story-telling.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 146 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a simple book written in the first person. It was a quick read and I enjoyed it.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I was moved by the characters and the story. I thought it was well written and the subject is heartbreaking.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
in the same vane as bluest eye and night... short; but covers a lot with no wasting of even one word...
reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 1
Eleven-year-old Ellen Foster is an old soul living inside the body of a youngster. She is wise, funny and courageous, taking things as they come; living her life with a remarkable bravery and heroism that is truly unforgettable. Describing herself as "old Ellen" - an appellation which is disturbingly accurate, considering how much Ellen has already gone through in her young life - she tells her own story with a poignancy, an honesty, a perceptivity, and a certain unselfconscious wit that is startling to find in one so young.

After her frail and unhappy mother dies, Ellen effectively considers herself an orphan. She still lives with her alcoholic father - who alternately neglects and abuses her - but only for a short period of time, until her situation becomes truly untenable. From that point on, Ellen is shuttled between the homes of various uncaring relatives - living for a time with a teacher, a grandmother who blames Ellen for her mother's marriage, then with an aunt.

Eventually, Ellen discovers a home where she is finally wanted; loved and treasured by her new family in a way she would never have believed was possible to experience ever again after her mother's passing. Ellen is a shrewd judge of character, developing friendships along the way that are lasting and heartfelt. She judges people shrewdly and well; bonding with a little girl named Starletta and the strength of those relationship ties are beautifully revealed throughout the story.

I must say that I found reading this book to be remarkably gripping; Ellen's life was harsh and tough and her story was heartbreakingly poignant. However, despite those first impressions, I still enjoyed this story immensely. Yes, I know this may sound unusual, but I generally do enjoy reading books with depressing themes. Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons is just such a book; it was certainly worth an A+!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 141 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the kind of book they make you read in high school to help you learn about growing up. It's tiresome, repetitive, has a dreamy quality to it that makes the whole thing feel undefined. Sure, our heroine has a few cute quips and has a whimsical resourcefulness. But it doesn't sustain the book as a "good read" as far as I'm concerned. Or maybe I'm a lazy reader, considering how acclaimed the book seems to be. In any event, I can't recommend it.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An incredible read. I was impressed with the way Ms. Gibbons was able to reveal Ellen's high level of intelligence through her perception of life. I immediately looked up other books by this author and was thrilled to find a sequel! Can't wait for it to arrive!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 37 more book reviews
This is a wonderful book told in a very unique perspective of a little girl. It's a must read!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 121 more book reviews
How much can one little girl take? Quite a bit, when she's feisty and smart, fearless and determined. I loved discovering the meaning of the book's title. This trim and touching book was impossible to put down.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 11 more book reviews
Another great Oprah Book Club book about a feisty southern girl. This was also made into a great movie. I highly recommend this book!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 145 more book reviews
A very good easy read. In the style of a Virtuous Woman. "The story of a redoubtable girl who overcomes adversity with humor, spunk, and determination, Kaye Gibbons first novel is a work of considerable subtlety and intellectual sophistication. A terrific book" ~ Jonathon Yardley, Washington Post Book World. Taken from back of book.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
This was a very good read.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 10 more book reviews
A very quick read and worth it. It tells of the life of one little girl and the uncaring grown ups in her life. Told in the first person by the main caracter, she brushes past some very difficult subjects just enough to let you know what is going on but not enough to go into detail. A good book for pre-teens in that it shows the strength and resiliance of a person who has no control of her life but manages to take control of her own actions through it all.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
A quick read. It's only about 125 pages but it is a beautiful love story.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons pull you into the story with her opening sentence,

" When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy."

Ellen Foster is one of my favorite books, it is compelling, the voice of the narrator of a child who has suffered abuse, it is funny, and the language so simple and heartfelt that you can not help but to fall in love with the character and the story. It is a must read.

Rose Offner
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 299 more book reviews
This is one of my very favorite books and has been loaned to all my reader friends and suggested to many others.
Told from the viewpoint of the little girl who was abused and impoverished. It is a very short read but a book that will stay with you a long time.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 3 more book reviews
An amazing story, beautifully written.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 223 more book reviews
ANNOTATION
Having suffered abuse and misfortune for much of her life, a young child searches for a better life and finally gets a break in the home of a loving woman with several foster children.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
'When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down and run it down through my head until it got easy.' So it begins the tale of Ellen Foster, the brave and engaging heroine of Kaye Gibbon's much acclaimed first Novel. The story of an eleven-year-old orphan, driven to desperation by some of the wickedest relatives in literary history, this is the story of her battle for survival. Wise, funny and affectionate.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 17 more book reviews
If you like character driven novels this should please you, along with other novels by Kaye Gibbons. Was made into a good film, also.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 3 more book reviews
I could not get into this book. Tried to read the second part too, but quickly put it down.
reviewed Ellen Foster on
This book takes a look into one little girls life of disapointment. From relationship to relationship she is always finding herself unlovable, until that is she finds someone who changes all of that. The storyline is a little shaky, but overall it is a fantastic book detailing how it is possible to take life struggles and make yourself better because of it- no matter what age you are.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 29 more book reviews
this is a great book written in the words of an 11 yo who is dealing with a dysfunctional family andother peoples opinions.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 163 more book reviews
Well now if this wasn't just one crazy ass story..I loved it from reading the first sentence and then it just sucked me in and I couldn't put it down. it's told in the narrative of Ellen's childish voice and that has quite the impact. I think that really makes this book unique and I'm shocked I never heard of it before finding it for .25 at my local Salvation Army store. I don't read much fiction but every so often one will catch my eye either by way of the cover or what I read on the back...and like I already said, that first sentence grabbed me.."When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy." Powerful, emotional story of a neglected, abused child who took on the world in her own way and survived. I loved it!!
reviewed Ellen Foster on
A very sweet story with a message.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 408 more book reviews
So funny and moving. Please read!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 12 more book reviews
Oprah Book Club selection, October 1997

(From Publishers Weekly) The appealing, eponymous, 11-year-old orphan heroine of this Southern-focused debut survives appalling situations until she finds safe harbor in a good foster home. "Some readers will find the recital of Ellen's woes mawkishly sentimental," PW remarked, "but for others it may be a perfect summer read."
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 123 more book reviews
Inspiring story!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 222 more book reviews
Abridged 3 hours
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 5 more book reviews
A painful yet terrifically interesting look at one woman's story.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 40 more book reviews
Very strange tale that you can't wait to see how it ends.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 26 more book reviews
This was a light, fast read. I really liked Ellen, and I enjoyed the time I spent getting to know her in this book.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 130 more book reviews
Thought provoking novel!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 80 more book reviews
It's a quick read but not unsubstantial-- it's narrated by an 11-year-old put in the foster system in her southern town after her mother dies and her alcoholic father abandons her.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 18 more book reviews
Books that tie in with each other are so fascinating, another super fast read.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 27 more book reviews
Read it for summer reading last year. Quick read, but plenty of depth.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 4 more book reviews
This is a wonderful story. Sad, but insightful. Kaye Gibbons is authentic.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 14 more book reviews
I really enjoy her books - they are old-fashioned and remind you of long ago days.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 42 more book reviews
Excellent Fast Pace book great read!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 50 more book reviews
This is a delightful story of a very plucky little girl, who rises above circumstances beyond her control and has you cheering from page 1.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 8 more book reviews
This is a great little novel, funny and warm!!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 38 more book reviews
I liked this book. It was a little hard to catch onto the language but it was interesting and thought provoking
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 19 more book reviews
good story...a very interesting book
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 8 more book reviews
A story of a girl growing up in an abusive household and her escape to foster homes
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 53 more book reviews
Beautifully written, but a very sad book. A typical choice of Oprah's book club.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 27 more book reviews
"When I was little I would think of ways to kill my Daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy." So begins the tail of Ellen Foster, The brave engaging heroin.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 9 more book reviews
Great book!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 28 more book reviews
Sweet story of a young girl trying to find a family for herself in the foster care system. Quick read.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 14 more book reviews
"Filled with lively humor, compassion and integrity"
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 422 more book reviews
A first novel by Kaye Gibbons. The story of a redoubtable girl who overcomes adversity with humor, spunk and determination. A work of considerable subtetly and intellectual sophistication.. Filled with lively humor, compassion and integrity.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 9 more book reviews
Amazing how she creates such believable characters. As Elisabeth Spencer said "Original, compelling, and frighteningly real, the voice of Ellen Foster makes the reader know her story in her own terms."
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 1020 more book reviews
An award winning novel of a young girl with Fetal alcohol syndrome.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 2 more book reviews
Heart-warming and somewhat heart-wrenching at the same time. Can't wait to read the sequel.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 3 more book reviews
A poignant and touching story of a young girl. Recommended reading for any woman who grew up in the South.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 50 more book reviews
Took me a while to catch on to the writing style. Enjoyed the book.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 101 more book reviews
Endearing perspective of a child
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 391 more book reviews
As always, the author has outdone herself
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 88 more book reviews
The first line of Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons reads: "When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy." Wow! Talk about a powerful hook! Eleven year old Ellen has been through more than any child should experience. Her father is alcoholic and abusive toward Ellen's mother. Ellen just about raises herself in this dysfunctional household, the "hero" in the alcoholic family. After her mother dies, she goes to live with her teacher and things would have been fine except her grandmother interferes and gets custody of her. The grandmother blames her for the death of her mother, grandma's daughter...as if the poor kid hasn't been through enough as it is. To add to the misery, grandma dies and Helen has to move on yet again, this time to an aunt that doesn't really want her. Ellen sets about finding herself a new family. She has a refreshing voice. I read that she has been compared to Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) but I wouldn't go that far. She's a lot more resourceful and "together" than Holden was, a truly admirable character. Now I want to read Gibbons' other books!

Book is cross listed with Book Crossing.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 12 more book reviews
This is the story of a redoubtable girl who overcomes adversity with humor, spunk and determination. Kaye Gibbon's first novel is a work of considerable subtley and intellectual sophistication.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 2 more book reviews
SuperFANtabulos story Highly recommended. Oprah's book club selection a few years back, like 7 I was on matertinity leave w/my son when I bought this book.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 4 more book reviews
Loved this book....could not put it down!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 153 more book reviews
I liked this better as a movie, to be honest. It's a good, quick read....I just liked the movie more.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 42 more book reviews
Great story.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 39 more book reviews
This was a wonderful book and very uplifting in spite of the really awful things that happened to this little girl through no fault of her own. The strength she exhibited under horrible circumstances would have been admirable in an adult and to be found in a child so young is almost beyond belief. She always made the best of any situation and her tender years were filled with experiences no child should ever have to endure. To say that she prevailed is an understatement. I loved this book. It was hard to put down.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 526 more book reviews

"When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy."

So begins the tale of Ellen Foster, the brave and engaging heroine of Kaye Gibbons's first novel, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Wise, funny, affectionate and true, Ellen Foster is, as Walker Percy called it, "The real thing. Which is to say, a lovely, sometimes heart/wrenching novel...[Ellen Foster] is as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character and a good deal more endearing."

reviewed Ellen Foster on + 55 more book reviews
I have yet to be disappointed by an Oprah's Book Club selection - this book was no exception.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 15 more book reviews
This book was not near as good as all the hype promised it would be.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 15 more book reviews
A novel bythe author of A Virtuous Woman
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 137 more book reviews
"When I was young, I would think of ways to kill my daddy." So begins Kaye Gibbon's debut novel, Ellen Foster, a powerful story told by the epononymous Ellen, an 11-year orphan whose violent father is responsible for her mother's suicide. Ellen is eventually taken out of her father's care and placed in a series of temporary homesâ"first with her grandmother, where she is made to toil in the fields as twisted payback for her father's brutality, and then with a neglectful aunt and her spoiled daughter, Dora. Told as a dual narrative, Ellen Foster follows the heroine's ordeals both chronologically and in reflection, and ends with her wish of a "new mama" fulfilled.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 229 more book reviews
Another Oprah selection from her early book club years.
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 12 more book reviews
Oprah's Book Club favorite