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Ellen Foster
Ellen Foster
Author: Kaye Gibbons
"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 Lett...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780375703058
ISBN-10: 0375703055
Publication Date: 5/1/1990
Pages: 144
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 486 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 9
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 + 137 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
patmat avatar reviewed Ellen Foster on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
BookwormMary avatar reviewed Ellen Foster on
Helpful Score: 3
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 + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
Read All 79 Book Reviews of "Ellen Foster"

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ilovebooksanddogs avatar reviewed Ellen Foster on + 173 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
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 + 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 + 123 more book reviews
Inspiring story!
reviewed Ellen Foster on + 573 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
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 + 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 + 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 + 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 + 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.

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