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Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
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Ellen Foster (1987)

by Kaye Gibbons

Series: Ellen Foster (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,122602,934 (3.7)1 / 127
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.
  1. 52
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (rbtanger)
  2. 20
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (petterw)
    petterw: Similarly, Ellen Foster tells a story in the voice of a child, and the reader must fill in the blanks.
  3. 10
    The Silver Star: A Novel by Jeannette Walls (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 01
    Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Although Ellen Foster was written with an adult audience in mind and Pictures of Hollis Woods was written for YA, the two books share a common theme as well as being beautifully written. The joy of Hope is central to both.
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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
i found this book at a junk shop, not knowing it was queen oprah's selection. i paid 25 cents! it was so well written, imaginative and real. i wonder why i'd never heard of kaye gibbons before. ellen is strong, hopeful and inspirational. ( )
  gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
The protagonist of this poignant novella is Ellen, a fifth grade who, like Little Orphan Annie, has a "hard-knock life" physically abused by an alcoholic father and neglected by a mother frequently in bed with depression. Although one might believe that this work would be a depressing read, the mood is lightened with Ellen's musings, such as the opening lines:

"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."

Much of the novella is an interweaving of three time periods including after she is placed in a foster home, which she described as a place where "nobody barks, farts, or feeds the dogs under the table..." I had no difficulty keeping track of the various time frames.

Essentially, the book is about one poor, but resilient, white Southern girl who desperately seeks a family and a mother to replace the one she loss. Her longing brought tears to my eyes, but the satisfying ending makes this work a must read. ( )
  John_Warner | Feb 10, 2020 |
I read this book as a recommendation from a friend and was lucky enough to find it at the Public library... It was a great read and quick! I love how the book starts out- "When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figuare out this or that way and run it through my head until it got easy."

It made me wonder what this story was about- what had this poor 11 year old girl gone through.
Ellen Foster was a deeply delightful story from her point of vision. ( )
  SandraBrower | Oct 27, 2019 |
Although this book could be a little depressing, I found it a book worth reading. Fast read. I recommend it. ( )
  MichelleGO | Apr 30, 2019 |
Another short one, it seems like a year for that. 'Ellen Foster' is written in one of the most convincing young voices I've come across, and thank God early on you know there's a happy ending, because Ellen's life is rough.

The novel goes back and forth between Ellen's present and the past two years of her life. Ellen matter-of-factually, and without self-pity, relates what's happening to her, her family, and her friend Starletta, all interspersed with the details of her life and her daydreams.

I try not to go by blurbs, but one from the inside cover from the 'Philadelphia Inquirer' clinches it: "'Ellen Foster' the book is as original and irresistible as Ellen Foster the character. [Ellen's story] is enough to break your heart--except that Ellen never lets it break hers." ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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Cast the bantling on the rocks, Suckle him with the she-worlf's teat, Wintered with the hawk and fox, Power and speed be hands and feet. -Inscription to "Self-Reliance" Ralph Waldo Emeron
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When I was little I would think of ways to kill my Daddy.
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