Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster

by Kaye Gibbons

Overview: Winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation's Citation for Fiction. An eleven-year-old heroine tells her unforgettable story with honesty, perceptivity, humor, and unselfconscious heroism..

Rona Simmons (05/15/17): Who can resist the opening line of Gibbons’ short, one hundred plus page novel: When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. Ellen Foster (who picked the name when she found refuge in a foster family) doesn’t kill her father but does find a number of people who she considers worthy of dying. Told in the uneducated voice of a grade school child who flees or is shuffled from one abusive situation to the next. Written in 1987, the story, though mesmerizing at the start, ends in a “pat” decades-ago style that seemed heavy handed. Gibbons’ apologies for the state of race relations could have been more deftly handled.
Rating: ***

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