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.
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.
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.
Couldn't put it down. Short book though, so a quick read. Makes you want to read all the authors other work.
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.