- 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 (249 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Me & Emma Hardcover – March 1, 2005
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The Amazon Book Review
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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 husbands 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
This is a touching story told by a child who is the victim of abuse. I will never forget it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the book was amazingly good. your heart goes out to the two young girls and then the end is so surprising. I would have never imagined it
ending that way,
Oh my gosh, what a great book!! I could have never predicted the ending! I found it hard to put down from the very beginning, and it captivated me until the very end. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elise Katims
I read what happened to my sister before I read this one but they still made since and where greatPublished 3 months ago by greta odom
A well written book! But tread lightly because the subject matter is so sad.Published 4 months ago by Cathy
This book made my head fly off and spin around the room!!!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you've seen my earlier posts, you know by now that I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Flock. Love all her books. Read morePublished 9 months ago by T. Howerton