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Me & Emma Hardcover – March 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778320820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778320821
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The title characters in Me & Emma are very nearly photographic opposites--8-year-old Carrie, the raven-haired narrator, is timid and introverted, while her little sister Emma is a tow-headed powerhouse with no sense of fear. The girls live in a terrible situation: they depend on an unstable mother that has never recovered from her husband’s murder, their stepfather beats them regularly, and they must forage on their own for food.

Stop here and you have a story told many times before, as fiction and nonfiction in tales like Ellen Foster, or I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings --stories in which a young girl reveals the horrors of her childhood. Me & Emma differentiates itself with a spectacular finish, shocking the reader and turning the entire story on its head. Through several twists and turns the reader learns that things are not quite the way our narrator led us to believe and everything crescendos in a way that (like all good thrillers) immediately makes you want to go back and read the whole book again from the start. --Victoria Griffith

From Publishers Weekly

"I got handed lemons, too, y'know—but I learned how to make lemonade with them.... No one ever told me I had to add sugar but that's life for you. It ain't sweet." That's the jumbled and unforgiving logic that drives Flock's (But Inside I'm Screaming) second novel, a punishing Southern family drama that tries to achieve To Kill a Mockingbird–grade poignancy by heaping tribulations on its child narrator. The novel starts off sweetly, with the smalltown antics of Carrie, a scrappy Scout-like eight-year-old who's always accompanied by her younger sister Emma. Carrie dreamily darts back and forth between her rough-and-tumble present (abusive stepfather, unloving mother) and the happy memories of her dead father, creating a bittersweet picture of her life in Toast, N.C., spiked with colorful Southern language and some feisty supporting characters. But journalist Flock soon loses control of her meandering story and this Southern slice-of-life disintegrates into narrative chaos. The action moves "slow as a crippled turtle," as Carrie's Momma would say, and down-home charm fails to camouflage the creaky, roundabout chronology. After nearly 300 pages of rambling drama, the twist at the end is revealed so haphazardly that it will probably bewilder readers more than surprise them. Sugarcoated it ain't, but instead of delivering profundity, Flock's tough love turns poor forsaken Carrie into a caricature.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

*** BREAKING NEWS: I am delighted to announce that "O, The Oprah Magazine" named WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER one of "Ten Titles To Pick Up Now" (September, 2012). ***

The single best career decision I ever made was chosing to leave something safe to try something risky. I look back now and smile at how blissfully unaware I was of all that is involved with getting something published but I am grateful I didn't have that as my goal.
All I wanted was to see if I could write a book I had in mind. My wish for everyone would be to experience the joy of completing something they feel so passionate about.
Being a writer is the hardest job I have ever had but it is also the best, most gratifying job I could hope for.
Visit my website ( and join me on Facebook:

Customer Reviews

Well written, interesting,sad, funny, great story.
melanie wagner
It's been a long while since I've read a book that intrigues me so much that I just can't put it down.
J. Holt
I was surprised by the twist at the end of the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 0 people found the following review helpful By Robin Brock on March 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I anxiously awaited my copy of Me and Emma because I was really excited to read the book that I had heard so much about. I didn't know much about it other than the description on the back of the book, but I was intrigued.

Unfortunately I discovered the "secret" within three or four pages of starting the book (it was actually one specific line that practically spelled out the entire story)and afterwards was unable to let my mind go and enjoy the story. I honestly don't know how anyone could read the first chapter and not know the entire story, but apparently many people were fooled due to the number of reviews titled "shocking".

Other than the oh so obvious secret plot-twist I enjoyed the story a good deal. I thought it was well written and most of the psychological end of things was pretty well thought out, although I think the book would have benefited from a little clarity at the end as far as the main character coming to terms with her abuse, etc.

I found the southern coloqioulisms (sp?) to be a bit annoying and hard to understand. Some of them just had me completely stumped as to their meaning. I thought the Carrie's accents and cliche phrases were over used as well.

Overall the book was interesting, but through the first read it felt like I was rereading it due to the amount of things I could predict with a hundred percent certainty.

It's a great read for someone who's possibly never seen a thriller or horror movie before, because the book tends to be more similar to these genres than drama. Maybe then someone could not spot the ending from a mile away.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By frisky2000 VINE VOICE on May 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Aside from the author occasionally missing the mark with her intreptation of Southern dialogue of poor white folks, this story is told from the point of view of an abused and all but abandoned 8 year old girl named Caroline (Carrie) who is in a desperate family situation.

Emma, the tough-as-nails younger sister, and Richard, the wicked stepfather, join with Carrie's mother, herself a victim of spousal abuse, and together the family moves to a new town, away from their haunting roots, only to set up in an area where the main attraction for the older folks is playing a banjo in the back of a general store and perfecting their shotgun technique on tin cans.

Carrie is in an awful situation at home, constantly bearing witness to the physical and mental cruelties of Richard. She misses her father, who was brutally murdered when she was just a small child, and she finds it difficult to do well in school, make more than one true friend, stay out of trouble at home. Emma is her only salvation, her only guts and defense in a cruel and heartless existence.

I can't say much more for fear of ruining the story. Suffice to say you will be mesmerized by the poignancy of this story, your heart will absolutely break for their suffering, and you will be torn between rooting for a happy ending and just wishing the pain would stop at whatever the cost. There were chapters that left me shaking in sobs, I was so in pieces over the graphic abuse. And reading it from a child's perspective is what made it all the more heart wrenching.

You won't close this book with a smile on your face, rather, with a heavy heart. It is tremendously hard-hitting and will stir your soul.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on March 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
For eight-year-old Carrie Parker, life is divided into before and after. Before her beloved father's death, her family lived a relatively happy life in the small town of Toast, North Carolina. Now she and her sister, Emma, endure daily verbal and physical abuse at the hands of their stepfather, Richard, and the emotional absence of their mother. "A big sister has to look out for a baby sister," says Carrie, and she does her best to protect herself and Emma from Richard's fists.

ME & EMMA is narrated by Carrie, who lays out the details of her life with a child's intuitiveness and touching simplicity. Central to the story is her relationship with Emma, the one constant in a hardscrabble existence. In many ways, Carrie and Emma are opposites. Carrie has a dark complexion and Emma is fair, "like someone got bored painting her and just left her blank for someone else to fill in." Carrie is older by two years, but it's often the fearless Emma who leads the way. Emma is more of a realist, while Carrie, whose most cherished possession is a book of stamps from around the world, dreams of far away places. In particular, Bermuda, where she believes it's "too pretty for anything to be wrong, and I bet they even have a law that would keep people like Richard out altogether."

As the story unfolds, Carrie devises ways to escape the reality of her home life, from an aborted runaway attempt that has dire consequences to hiding behind the living room couch. "Behind-the-couch," she says, "is like another room for me and Emma. It's our fort. Anyway, we usually head there when we've counted ten squeaks from the foot pedal of the metal trash can in the kitchen. The bottles clank so loud I think my head'll split in two.
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