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Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,349 ratings  ·  606 reviews
With the startling emotional immediacy of a fractured family photo album, Jennifer Lauck's incandescent memoir is the story of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.

To young Jenny, the house on Mary Street was home -- the place whe
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Washington Square Press (first published 2000)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,349 ratings  ·  606 reviews

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Jennifer Lauck
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Is it wrong to review my own book? Heck no! I wrote it. Who better than me to speak about it?

What Blackbird is: a view into my own experience of childhood at a time when all I could do was be a first person, present tense witness. I wrote Blackbird from a place of longing to love and be loved as well as to speak to what I saw, lived, felt and questioned about that time. I was digging into the question of mother--as it was time in my life to become a mother. I wanted know my mother--not realizin
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i'm not sure if anyone even reads my reviews so i'm not sure why i write them.

i'm on page 222 of this book and it is breaking my heart so much that i'm torn between quitting reading the book or hurrying up to finish it in hopes that it gets better. Knowing that this is the author's memoir and that that these awful things happen to a young child is killing me...even though I went through some of the same things. It's hard to know others have been through your most painful life moments. I've cried
May 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am fascinated by survival stories, as a survivor myself.

It interests me to look into someone else's experience. As children we just don't always understand what is going on. Yet you do your best to survive and make sense of your life.

How someone else managed is interesting to me.

I may have arrived at the doorstep of adulthood floating on a plank...but in my case, "only God can restore the years that the locust hath eaten"! He is, and not only that, working all things for GOOD.
Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy memoirs about childhod (not for the faint of heart)
Loved this book. It was like a huge wallop of a punch to my stomach though. Jennifer Lauck’s memoir really got to me emotionally; it was a book that I thought about for a long time after I read it. She shows a remarkable resilience for suffering what she did. Contributed to changing my beliefs about one’s ability to cope and heal, at least for some people in some circumstances, no matter how horrible the circumstances. Lovely child's voice: she really remembers what it's like to be a child.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Memoirs by women are my favorite type of book to read. This book is written from a child's perspective which takes some getting used to. That said, her writing is very good. It is a story of childhood innocence and survival. Her story reminds you of your childhood and how vulnerable a child is to the harsh realities of life. I found myself thinking about being a parent and how incredibly difficult it is to raise children right. To do your best. I believe all of the adults in Jennifer's life (the ...more
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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Andrea Mosca
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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Jun 08, 2008 rated it liked it
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Stitchintime Hay
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a member of the club of adoptees and persons who were in the "system", this is a deeply penetrating memoir. It brings up disturbing memories, but those that need to be exorcized. I started a recollection of my life and called it 'a child still waits'...this memoir gets so close it's scary. I only know of one person who might grasp what this meant to me to read another person's young painful and redemptive survival. She will know who she is. If she hasn't read this, she should. I did't find an ...more
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly

Most of the time I don't read those little quotes or whatever you have to call them on the first pages of a book but this is so correct, sums everything up so beautiful. After everything that happened to her, she found somewhere the courage to carry on or was to stuburn to give up..
The begining of the book was a bit hard, when she talks about her mother in the words and thoughts of a 5-6 yo girl but then at a certain p
Alexandra Geneve
Apr 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Hated it. Pretty much the most boring, torturous book I have ever read. Although compared by people to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes (I have no idea why), it's not even in the same solar system. Glad to see the New York Times book reviewer agreed with me - even if Oprah didn't.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
What do I think? I think, "was Deb out of her flipping mind??!!" Was it just the times, the 1970's cult era? I mean what the h*ll was going on in this kid's life? Jennifer Lauck writes of her childhood, and it is disturbing.
She is praised by critics for her ability to write in the voice of a child. I agree, she does this well. I've got lots of questions, but I guess if she wanted to fill in the blanks she would have done so. I mean, just stuff that sticks in my mind like, were the teeth she got
Fred Daly
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to KConaway by: Jami
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like tearjerker memoirs.
This is another of the many books that makes me wish goodreads offered 1/2 stars -- I'd give it a 3.5. I really liked it, but recognize that it's a classic hard-childhood tearjerker. I like Hope Edelman's (author of "Motherless Daughters") synopsis: "This is one of those rare books that captures both the innocence of the child narrator and the wisdom of the adult author...BLACKBIRD is both a tribute to the author's mother and to her own powers of survival." That said, I do think it's a powerful ...more
Asha Greye
Nov 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't know what all of the hype was about and to be completely honest I question the authenticity of this memoir. It came off an overdramatized whine fest and pity party by a bitter middle aged woman unable to come to terms with her childhood seeking attention.

1. While she claims her stepmother was evil I failed to see this noticing only that the stepmother belongs to some crazy cult, forces the Lauck children to join this cult, and believes New Age Whackos can cure her gravely ill husband bet
Lori Watson koenig
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a story! Highly recommend it.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it liked it
This memoir is not for the faint of heart. It is intense and while you read you are wishing that it is fiction. It is hard to believe that someone could endure all that this little girl did. I actually found myself feeling very depressed as I read. I contemplated numerous times not finishing because it was so hard to get through. It is overwhelming to think that I can barely even make myself read about what a little child actually had to live.

This book brought up a very important question in my
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Living in Reno, I picked this book up primarily because of the local connection, The author was born and partially raised in this area and I thought I'd give it a shot. The book turned out to not really be my cup of tea, though the author does a great job writing. I can't fault her writing at all.

The author---Jennifer Lauck---has a mother who is dying at the beginning of the book, a workaholic father who is often times absent, and a bit older brother who is portrayed throughout much of the book
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
It took me almost 5 years to get around to this book, but I "enjoyed" (not sure that's the right word, given the depressing nature of this book) it. I appreciated that Lauck wrote the book as if she were still a child, and I think that helped her tell the story. For me, however, it made this book much more depressing because she is so totally powerless. One thing which bothered me throughout was her misuse of me/I. I know she's supposed to be a child and it may have been intentionally done, but ...more
Emily Crow
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck is a memoir concerning dying mothers, workaholic (at best) fathers, and wicked stepmothers. I have nothing but sympathy for Ms. Lauck for what she must have suffered. Even so, I have grown weary of these sad-sack type of childhood memoirs, and as young Jennifer was somewhere between the ages of five and ten for these events, I find myself a bit skeptical of the completeness of her recollections. Perhaps I find myself once again in a book ru ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
SO sad, I read her trio of biographical books in anticipation of meeting the author and hearing her speak on her life's awakening. This book {Blackbird} was my first by Jennifer Lauck and left me wanting more - which was immediately sated by her next book Still Waters, a less turbulent time in her life but still marred with her deep familial scars. Her last book , Show me the Way, was an ending of sorts, but I still have many questions. Jennifer's wilingness to open her soul to us amazes me; her ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Definitely NOT the kind of book I thought it would be. Very disappointed and did not even try to finish it. Written from a child's perspective and poorly done at that.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well written account of a dear little girl whose life turns upside down. I was torn whether to turn the page or not. I found my self saying F#*@ you Deb right along with Jenny, with more intonation each time until it almost became a cheer.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Heart wrenching memoir. Amazed at the authors resilience and capacity of capturing the essence of the era.
Amanda Jackson-lupton
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such a heartbreaking journey that no child should ever have to endure. I found myself unable to put this book down. I’d read around fifty pages at a time and just keep saying one more chapter or one more page. I loved the child’s perspective through this. Great book even though it was sad.
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
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Sarah B.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Lauck has an amazing story to tell about five or six years of her life, starting when she was age 5 and her mother's health went from bad to worse. The story was gripping, and I couldn't put it down.

I did struggle with the author's voice, especially in the first part of the book where she is writing from the point of view of herself at age 5. The childish tone, which is presumably meant to be true to a 5-year-old's voice, made the book almost unreadable for me. Here is an example from page 54 th
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Jennifer Lauck is the author of four memoirs, which include the international bestsellers Blackbird,Still Waters, Show Me the Way and soon to be released Found by Seal Press. A former newspaper reporter and television producer, Jennifer now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her two children
“I can say anything, but the things I want to say are trapped in that wide open space so I don’t say anything at all.” 10 likes
“All his genius and he’s wrong. I can stay mad forever.” 2 likes
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