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Ellen Foster

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  25,125 Ratings  ·  1,429 Reviews
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. "The honesty of thought and eye and feeling and word!"--Eudora Welty; "A lovely, breathtaking, sometime ...more
ebook, 111 pages
Published October 17th 2012 by Algonquin Books (first published 1987)
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Angela M
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This is a short but powerful and a lot of the time a painful story . Ellen Foster is a precocious eleven year old girl whose courage and strength and infinite wisdom carry her through things that no child should bear .

I wanted to pull Ellen out of those pages and take care of her , get her away from her alcoholic father who for the most part has abandoned her and her miserable grandmother who takes her in for a period of time. But ultimately it's Ellen who pulled me up from the despair I felt fo
...more
❀Julie
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
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 life ...more
Carol
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, read-2013
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!
Connie
"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 diff
...more
Diane Barnes
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
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.
Betsy Robinson
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 li ...more
Duane
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 more 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 rea ...more
Irishcoda
Jul 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
What did I think? That's the question asked when reviewing a book on Goodreads. I freakin' loved it. It is now on my favorite shelf. I loved how she wished for eyes in the back of her head and she thought her head size was "just this side of a defect", how she gave herself a new name and how she "lived to see what would happen next". Ellen Foster her story, her voice....what is there not to love about this 10 year old?
Rebecca Foster
This was a random library book sale purchase, chosen almost entirely for the title. I set aside my usual dislike of child narrators and found an enjoyable voice-driven novella about a fiesty ten-year-old who loses both her parents (good riddance to her father, at least) and finds her own unconventional family after cycling through the homes of some truly horrid relatives. Just as an example, her maternal grandmother sends her out to work picking cotton.

The book is set in the South, presumably in
...more
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Ellen Foster 1 3 Dec 05, 2017 05:29AM  
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Kaye Gibbons was born in 1960 in Nash County, North Carolina, on Bend of the River Road. She attended North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying American and English literature. At twenty-six years old, she wrote her first novel, Ellen Foster. Praised as an extraordinary debut, Eudora Welty said that "the honesty of thought and eye and feeling and ...more
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“I might be confused sometimes in my head but it is not something you need to talk about. Before you can talk you have to line it all up in order and I had rather just let it swirl around until I am too tired to think. You just let the motion in your head wear you out. Never think about it. You just make a bigger mess that way.” 41 likes
“Have you ever felt like you could cry because you know you just heard the most important thing anybody in the world could have spoke at that second?” 18 likes
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