Call Boomerang Books 1300 36 33 32

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 Kaye Gibbons's much acclaimed first novel. The story of an eleven year old orphan, driven to desperation by some of the wickedest relatives in literary history, this is the story of her battle for survival. Wise, funny and affectionate, Walker Percy called it. 'The real thing. Which is to say, a lovely, sometimes heart-wrenching novel ...{Ellen Foster} is as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character - and a good deal more endearing'.

Buy Ellen Foster book by Kaye Gibbons from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781860496059
ISBN-10: 1860496059
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x 5mm)
Pages: 144
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 1-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A short first novel told in the laconic and telegraph-style voice of an 11-year-old girl down South. Ellen Foster is a kind of Huck Finn, smarter than her years and with wit and resilience in plentiful measure, whose orphan adventures lead her, at last, to a happy home. The story opens with the death of her kind but dragged-into-poverty-and-despair mother, an event that leaves Ellen alone with her father, who, like Huck's Pap, is a piece of mean, worthless, lecherous, drunken white trash. Ellen hides from him as best she can, but finally has to run away from home to escape his half-crazed sexual advances. Ellen's fate then is to live for a time with her rich but snake-mean grandmother, who takes out on Ellen the hatred she feels for Ellen's ne'er-do-well father - who in turn does the decent thing by dying (and, like Huck's dad, does it offstage). Ellen's grandmother herself is the next to go (of flu), after which Ellen is handed on to a hypocritical and shallow aunt (and her ditto daughter), who so enrage Ellen (and give her so little love) that she once again flees, this time to the home for girls run by her "new mama," where she at last finds the stability and love (and cleanliness and order and honesty) she's never had before. At book's end, her old and best-loved friend Starletta - dirt poor and black - comes for a weekend; and though the occasion gives rise to a fleeting brush of platitudes about race relations, the depth of feeling Ellen has (not only for her friend, but for having a place to invite her to) is lovely, psychologically on target, and affecting. A reader may doubt that at her age, and in her poverty-driven circumstances, the unlettered Ellen could really be as worldly as she's sometimes portrayed (she names an imaginary boyfriend Nick Adams), but by and large the innocence of her wit and the tough stoicism of her voice avoid an Eloise-like coyness and ring true - and touching: "I am not exactly a vision. But Lord I have good intentions that count." A child's-eye tale of evil giving way to goodness - and happily far more spunky than sweet. (Kirkus Reviews)


» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about Ellen Foster book by Kaye Gibbons and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a Boomerang Books Account Holder - it's free to sign up and there are great benefits!)

Write Review


Author Biography - Kaye Gibbons

Kaye Gibbons has won A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pen Award , a citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize, and other honours.

Books By Author Kaye Gibbons

Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons

Sights Unseen

Paperback / softback, October 2015
$25.81
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

Ellen Foster

Paperback / softback, October 2012
$24.02
Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster

Paperback / softback, November 2006
$37.79
Divining Women by Kaye Gibbons

Divining Women

Paperback / softback, July 2005
$25.81