Kaye Gibbons – Ellen Foster: A Novel

55. Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons (1987)
Length: 146 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 2 September 2015
Finished: 3 September 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 9 April 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and had read and enjoyed Sights Unseen by this author in the past.

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+!

A+! – (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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