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Ellen Foster

Kaye Gibbons

25,322 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0912697520 / ISBN 13: 9780912697529
Published by Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill, 1987
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

North Carolina: Algonquin, 1987. Hardcover. First edition, first printing. Gibbons' debut novel tells the story of a neglected young girl as she seeks a permanent home. Near Fine with mild edgewear. Bookseller Inventory # 200911030051OFFFH44FO

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Ellen Foster

Publisher: Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill

Publication Date: 1987

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Having suffered abuse and misfortune for much of her life, a young child searches for a better life and finally gets a break in the home of a loving woman with several foster children.


Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1997: Kaye Gibbons is a writer who brings a short story sensibility to her novels. Rather than take advantage of the novel's longer form to paint her visions in broad, sweeping strokes, Gibbons prefers to concentrate on just one corner of the canvas and only a few colors to produce her small masterpieces. In Gibbons's case, her canvas is the American South and her colors are all the shades of gray.

In Ellen Foster, the title character is an 11-year-old orphan who refers to herself as "old Ellen," an appellation that is disturbingly apt. Ellen is an old woman in a child's body; her frail, unhappy mother dies, her abusive father alternately neglects her and makes advances on her, and she is shuttled from one uncaring relative's home to another before she finally takes matters into her own hands and finds herself a place to belong. There is something almost Dickensian about Ellen's tribulations; like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield or a host of other literary child heroes, Ellen is at the mercy of predatory adults, with only her own wit and courage--and the occasional kindness of others--to help her through. That she does, in fact, survive her childhood and even rise above it is the book's bittersweet victory.

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