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Ellen Foster Paperback – November 5, 1997
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In Ellen Foster, the title character is an 11-year-old orphan who refers to herself as "old Ellen," an appellation that is disturbingly apt. 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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Yet, when I saw the movie, I didn't see an empowered child. I saw a sad story of an abused and abandoned child. I laughed through the book because you couldn't tell Ellen that she wasn't in control. The girl had a plan. Yet the movie left me so choked up that I almost felt bad that I hadn't realized how alone this child was before.
I am glad I read the book first. I think the author intended to show this from Ellen's perspective and not the department of children and family services.
Oft times, people write off childrens' spirit's and strength and turn them into mindless/feelingless being who need their lives to be decided upon by not so informed adults.
Yes, Ellen Foster was a tragic story. But it was also a story of great courage a thinking mind.
It was this book that made me a Kaye Gibbons fan !
You will be unable to put this book down, however difficult it may be to read.
This book definitely deserves your attention, and at the discounted price [it] is selling it for, I would highly recommend it.
Sound familiar? - Like lots of other comtemporary books about child abuse? Yes, but there's a difference: the understated, matter-of-fact telling of the story that makes this book so special. In Ellen Foster, Gibbons uses her beautiful language, literary acumen, and attention to detail to craft a clean, small spare portrait, a gift to all readers.
Kaye Gibbons writes in choppy, incomplete sentences as one can imagine the grounded and brutually-honest Ellen might speak. The book flashes back from past to present, but Ellen's child-like yet suprisingly mature tone remains the same throughout. She is a strong and lovable character. Her relationship with a "colored" girl Starletta is another high point of the book, and Gibbons manages to hit on the subjects of society's "rules" and racial prejudice without seeming redundant. This book alerted me to not only Ellen's plight but the plight of all children who fall subject to the court, social services, and the foster care system.
I have never read a book that was entirely monologue. It is entirely from the viewpoint of this little girl and the miseries she suffered at the hands of her mean old daddy. She referred to herself as "old Ellen", and I guess she was, mentally, pretty old for her young age.
There were no quotation marks and dialogue between characters as in all other books I've read, yet it held a sort of charm to me. The author certainly knows how a little girl feels in a situation like Ellen's, and I'm wondering if maybe the author IS Ellen. Of course, I dont' know if this is based on fact, but it sure could be.
She was totally disregarded by almost everyone she was around, with the exception of her poor, sick mother who died. Her daddy was an alcoholic and left her for days on end. If it were not for Ellen's little black friend, she would have had no friends.
She keeps talking about her new mama and how wonderful the woman is, and then goes back in time when things were completely different. Her new mama goes out and buys more food when they run out. Ellen has a pretty room, and she's just in awe of it. She doesn't even care about going out to play right away, just so she can lay around and love her bedroom. In the past, she shared a bed with her mama, and barely had enough to eat because her daddy was too lazy to work. He just drank and drank until he passed out near the toilet, and Ellen would have to go tell him to get himself out of the bathroom because there were other people who needed to go to the bathroom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Uniquely beguiling, Ellen Foster will grab the reader page one, then reluctantly relinquish and let go at the conclusion. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jo N.
I had to read Ellen Foster for my Comp 2 college course. Although a little confusing with the flashback writing style I did love this book.Published 3 months ago by RobynAlexis12
One of my favorite books as a teen and one of my favorite as an adult. I could read this book frequently. Love Kaye Gibbons' writing style.Published 4 months ago by Amalia the boot queen
Still reading this book. But I Love Ellen Foster and I'm cheering her on. I really want to know how much therapy she needs later in the life of hers. Read morePublished 4 months ago by lo lo
I was very impressed with this book. It was fascinating to see the world through a child's eyes. Touching how profound Ellen's need is to belong somewhere.Published 5 months ago by Raquel Weber
She wrote and engaging and captivating story with a vibe of the South that I could easily recognize. Good read.Published 5 months ago by S. Lowery