Susan Beth Pfeffer Nobody's Daughter

ISBN 13: 9780440411604

Nobody's Daughter

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9780440411604: Nobody's Daughter
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Believing her life is over when the last member of her family dies and she is sent to an orphanage, eleven-year-old Emily finds hope in the town librarian, who shows her that courage and honesty matter as much as blood ties. Reprint.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8?Orphaned at an early age, Emily lived with and cared for her elderly great-aunt, who left the almost 12-year-old girl penniless when she died. Arriving at the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls, Emily is greeted by Miss Browne, the director, with a warning to squelch unrealistic fantasies, to accept her role in life, and to always turn the other cheek. Emily, however, has just learned that she has a young sibling (their mother died in childbirth) and she dreams of being adopted by the wonderful family she imagines her sister to have. And turning the other cheek becomes more and more difficult as she and her friends are cruelly harassed by a group of spiteful classmates. When one of the orphaned girls is accidentally killed in one of these episodes, everyone refuses to believe Emily's truthful version of events. She finds the courage of her convictions; tries to change the path she's been forced to tread; and tracks down her sister, only to receive yet another crushing blow. Although one calamity after another afflicts the heroine, some sunshine enters her life when she gains the support of the town librarian and her mother. While the characters are depicted strictly in black or white, the plot is predictable, the dialogue is stilted, and the ambience of the early years of this century rarely emerges, there's a big audience out there for sagas about downtrodden orphans. This plot has just enough adversities to please those readers.?Susan F. Marcus, Pollard Middle School, Needham, MA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Orphaned at an early age and grudgingly taken in by a great-aunt, 11-year-old Emily is packed off to the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls after her great-aunt dies without providing for her. The institution is a benign one, she is told, compared with the rough-and-tumble city asylums, snobbishly described as holding pens for "ruffians, immigrants [and] the poorest of the poor." Once at the Austen Home, Emily steels herself to endure such degradations as having her braids cut off ("So many girls come to us with head lice....") and the torments of a gang of schoolmates, all daughters of the New England mill town's most prominent citizens. But Emily also forges firm friendships with two fellow orphans and with the spunky, free-thinking local librarian, who even drives a newfangled automobile. A cruel sequence of events soon shatters Emily's few hopes, showing her-and the reader-the extent of the upstanding citzenry's prejudice against the disenfranchised. Though some characters are so diabolically nasty they defy belief, others, such as the Austen Home's easily cowed director, are a convincing mix of good intentions and ordinary frailty. The happy, ultimately hopeful ending does not diminish the impact of Pfeffer's compassionate exploration of what happens to those who fall between the cracks. A wrenching story. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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