Ellen Foster (Gibbons)

Book Reviews 
If one should never trust the person who has had a happy childhood, then Ellen Foster, the 11-year-old heroine of Kaye Gibbons's accomplished first novel, may be the most trustworthy character in recent fiction....In many ways this is an old-fashioned novel about traditional values and inherited prejudices, taking place in a South where too little has changed too slowly....What might have been grim, melodramatic material in the hands of a less talented author is instead filled with lively humor, compassion and intimacy. This short novel focuses on Ellen's strengths rather than her victimization, presenting a memorable heroine who rescues herself.
Jane Hamilton - The New York Times Book Review

The appealing, eponymous, 11-year-old orphan heroine of this Southern-focused debut survives appalling situations until she finds safe harbor in a good foster home.... Some readers will find the recital of Ellen's woes mawkishly sentimental...but for others it may be a perfect summer read.''
Publishers Weekly

Ellen Foster is the often heart-wrenching tale of an 11-year-old girl who loses her dearly loved mother through suicide and is left to coexist with her alcoholic father. "Old Ellen,'' as the protagonist refers to herself, is a tough but tender young soul, determined and wise beyond her years. Initially, she is resourceful enough to ferret out money for necessities, but eventually she becomes fearful for her safety and runs away to live with her art teacher. When a court decides she can no longer remain there, Ellen is briefly shuttled between uncaring relatives but eventually triumphs in finding a "new mamma.'' Gibbons has produced a warm and caring first novel about a backwoods child persevering through hard times to establish a new and satisfying identity. It is written with the freshness of a child but the wisdom of an adult. —Kimberly G. Allen, Supreme Court Lib., Washington, D.C.
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