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When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddyThat s quite an opening line I chose this book because I was wanting to read classic American literature and was also hovering around award winners This novella is both.Ellen has survived a childhood filled with abuse and neglect, yet her spirit never fails She has a results oriented, get it done attitude which causes her to hatch a plan she s going to find herself a new family.There are so many beautiful moments within this story, made all the beautiful when contrasted against the difficult ones It was interesting to learn why Ellen had given herself the last name of Foster Her 11 year old mind did not yet understand that a foster family was not a family with the last name of Foster It s those types of sweet moments that will touch your heart I found this story to be heart warming than heart breaking Ellen will stay with me for a very long time. When I Was Little I Would Think Of Ways To Kill My Daddy I Would Figure Out This Or That Way And Run It Down Through My Head Until It Got Easy So Begins The Tale Of Ellen Foster, The Brave And Engaging Heroine Of Kay Gibbons S First Novel, Which Won The Sue Kaufman Prize From The American Academy Of Institute Of Arts And Letters Wise, Funny, Affectionate, And True, Ellen Foster Is, As Walker Percy Called It, The Real Thing Which Is To Say, A Lovely, Sometimes Heartwrenching Novel Ellen Foster Is As Much A Part Of The Backwoods South As A Faulkner Character And A Good Deal Endearing This would make a great book club pick It s a quick read and simply told, but with a lot of depth, and a powerful opening line that is a real attention grabber Ellen Foster is only 11 years old but is an old soul and there is a lot to be learned from her character The story is told through her voice and the author really gets into her head giving a sense for all she is thinking and feeling I felt it softened the tone coming from her perspective, but it really makes you think about the lifelong effects of child abuse I normally have a hard time reading about this topic because I find it so distressing but Ellen s character is so charming and feisty that it was hard not to root for her in her search for a new mama Naturally there is sadness, but it s ultimately an uplifting story about finding strength through adversity I found it particularly touching how she came about the name of Ellen Foster 4 stars. It is hard not to fall in love with 11 year old Ellen Foster as she narrates her struggles thru her young life of abuse and repeated disappointments in search of a safe home and someone to love her She is so brave and bright and mature for her age, and will make you laugh in spite of it all Great book When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy Ellen Foster grabs you with that first paragraph, and doesn t let go as she narrates her story Told with humor and honesty, the orphaned girl learns what is important about people in a rural southern town in the 1970s It s not possessions or the color of their skin, but the goodness in their hearts.Even though Ellen s childhood has been terribly difficult, she finally finds herself in a good, safe situation She realizes that her black friend Starletta has even to overcome, since racial prejudices do not change quickly.This slim volume about a self reliant eleven year old packs quite a punch The book is semi autobiographical, based on Kaye Gibbons challenging childhood in North Carolina.Interesting interview of Kaye Gibbons by the Star Tribune It does contain some spoilers since she talks about her childhood.http www.startribune.com entertainm I bought this book around 2006 2009 and it was just laying there on my book stack I just read 2 3 pages and lost interest After several years, I found this book on my storage and put it out to try if it can capture my interest now Thank goodness that I gave this book a chance because I can t put it down once I start to read it I was just busy so it was hard for me to finish reading it right away.Ellen is not your conventional type of kid because she thinks and speaks in a manner that is not like her age I really find her story very interesting from what happened to her mom s overdosed until she finally found her adoptive mother I was not surprised that this book has a fair rating here and that there are several reviews who didn t find this book to their liking The way it was written was not that easy to understand due to the way how Ellen tells her story Ellen s way of speaking is sort of unintelligible that s why I lost interest then But who could have thought that this incomprehensible way of Ellen could make the book unique and quite engaging to read. Ellen Foster is like Scout Finch without the support system of Atticus, Jem, and Calpurnia She s funny, courageous, level headed, fair minded and intelligent With very little help from anyone, she gets herself out of a very bad situation and into a good one and teaches herself some valuable lessons along the way I love Ellen Foster. I ve read lots of reviews of this book that were really positive All the quotes on the book itself are of course glowing with praise It was an Oprah s Book Club selection It got published A friend chose it for book club Many people apparently think this is a really amazing book I m not exactly sure what I m missing here I didn t hate it, but I was just kind of bored and not impressed The good thing is that it was a very short and easy book to read so I didn t feel like I wasted a lot of time If you want to read a book about poverty, abuse, and a dysfunctional family in the South with a girl that manages to get through it all successfully, I would highly recommend The Glass Castle That s good reading This just seemed overly simplistic and tidy There were so many details missing With all the talk about race, it seems strange that I was confused for for a lot of the book about what race the main character even was I didn t feel like I really got a grasp on any of the characters I ll be interested to go to book club and get an idea of what I m missing here, because I seem to be in the minority. Old Ellen is how this 11 year old refers to herself, and as the reviewer on the back of the book cover says, she s as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character and a good deal endearing She tells her story in the first person and in the first sentence of the book she says, When I was little I would think of ways to kill my Daddy She meant it too, and believe me, he deserved it Her family was about as rotten as any family I have come across in literature What a read, I would recommend it to anyone I give it 4.5 stars. This is the first person story of Ellen Foster, a ten to eleven year old Southern girl whose mother commits suicide with the agreement of her abusive father Ellen is tough, smart, and a survivor After she is sent from the happy foster home of her art teacher to her mama s mama, a mean old woman, she says, it was just her and me Me to look after her not the other way around like you might expect That did not surprise me because I had just about given up on what you expect I just lived to see what would happen next In a NY Times article about author Kaye Gibbons problems with mental illness, her editor is quoted as saying Kaye is constitutionally incapable of falseness Every word that flows from her lips is true You can feel the truth of her truth in every word of this wonderful book.Here s the publisher s book page