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Me & Emma Hardcover – March 1, 2005

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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.
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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
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

*** "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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer 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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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Maryland Miss on September 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am so glad that my pleasure of the book was not spoiled by the give-away that many reviewers have shared. If you haven't read the other reviews, don't do it.

This is a touching story told by a child who is the victim of abuse. I will never forget it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Davis on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written from a child's point of view, this story is absolutely riveting.....right to its shocking conclusion. The heroine, 8-year-old Carrie, is rather matter-of-fact as she weaves her woeful tale. You can't help but root for her and her little sister Emma as they attempt to navigate through a pretty pathetic existence. I can only hope that women reading this will heed its subtle warning: be careful who you choose for your mate.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Crydun on March 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I first saw this at a garage sale. I didn't buy it then but the cover haunted me. I finally bought it on-line and I'm glad I did. The psychological issues here are heart-wrenching as are the scenes of abuse as reported in earlier reviews. The ending blew me away. I'm hoping that a sequel to this is in the works as I thought it ended abruptly. All in all, a great read. I read it in 2 days!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Dunn on August 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I tucked this novel away to save for vacation, as I felt it would need my attention. I'm glad I did. I was lost in Carrie and Emma's world for two days, feeling their heartache, their bravery, their pain and loneliness. Definitely not a feel-good novel, but one that wrenches all your feelings, nonetheless. As one reviewer points out, it makes you want to reread the book as soon as you've finished it,if only to pick up the clues you've missed. I also was reminded of my own blessings in life, as it is not hard to imagine these events occurring in may homes, unbeknownst to us all. I picked up another novel when I finished with Emma and Me, but couldn't give it my full attention as I was still lost in thought, wanting to know the rest of Carrie's story. I hope some day Ms Flock will let us know how Carrie fares. To me, that is a successful novel, leaving the reader wanting more.
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