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Life for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair: One Family's Passage Through the Child Welfare System

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  114 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
On October 7, 1984, Crystal Taylor gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Daquan. Crystal was only fourteen. She was living with a boyfriend whom she was too young to marry, and her mother was addicted to heroin and cocaine. So under the law, Crystal and Daquan became wards of New York State’s foster-care system—a sprawling, often slipshod web of boarding facilities, half ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 6th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1993)
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Zsanelle
Oct 20, 2015 Zsanelle rated it liked it
Shelves:
This review for me is a tricky one. If it were not for the poor writing, I would have awarded Life for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair four stars. The story is tragic and captivating. The characters, while having highly unlikeable qualities, are essentially just good humans struggling with addiction and responsibility issues. This was definitely a captivating read but read like a long article as opposed to a book or even short story. Many lines I had to read two or three times to understand the c ...more
Animlgrl
Dec 20, 2014 Animlgrl rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2014
Hard to describe. Interesting, and a quick read, but MAN, the writing is terrible. The editor must have just skimmed through this because there were several times I had to re-read a sentence, not knowing what the author was trying to say. Mostly this was because of a lack of commas.

In addition, the book is all over the place. While all the stories are sad, and the amount of time they all spent in foster care is deplorable (as are the reasons they are all in foster care), jumping from one story t
...more
Lisa
Aug 11, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book is a reference to a poem by Langston Hughes that is probably taught in every high school in the U.S. about a mother that has worked hard against huge obstacles. This mother challenges her son to do the same, not to stop and rest.

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin'
...more
Victoria Cumberbatch
Nov 15, 2013 Victoria Cumberbatch rated it really liked it
Damn. You think you know about welfare and desperation and generational substance abuse; but you probably don't. Assigned for my social work foundational course and took me three days. Be ready for entirely too many people to keep track of
Ceema Samimi-Luu
Oct 05, 2012 Ceema Samimi-Luu rated it liked it
At times I felt like I was reading a senior thesis, but the story shows the complexity of generational poverty and trauma. A goo read for a beginning social work student or similar.
Elyssa
Oct 02, 2007 Elyssa rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
In my opinion, the best way to understand complex sociological issues is by reading about actual people who are immersed in them. This book is a good resource for such explorations.
Robyn
Dec 26, 2007 Robyn rated it really liked it
Really hard to read but also equally difficult to put down. How is it that patterns that don't serve oneself are repeated generation to generation?
Amy Wilder
Nov 19, 2009 Amy Wilder rated it liked it
What I learned from this book: I was seventeen when I read this and I think you could say I learned that life could be much much worse.
B
Oct 21, 2008 B rated it really liked it
362.7 Growing up in welfare, in various foster homes, etc. Interesting and sad
Julz
Apr 13, 2007 Julz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
A must-read for anyone working with students from poverty!
Auntie
Oct 05, 2008 Auntie rated it liked it
a slice of life that held my interest throughout
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