Former library audio book. Will have library markings and stickers and possibly no inserts. Plays perfectly. Bookseller Inventory #
Synopsis: This sequel to Gibbons' beloved classic Ellen Foster, stands on its own as an unforgettable portrait of a redoubtable adolescent making herself up out of whole cloth. Now fifteen, Ellen is settled into a permanent home with a new mother. Strengthened by adversity and blessed with enough intelligence to design a salvation for herself, she still feels ill at ease in the world. Her sole surviving ritual --a visit to the county fair --takes on totemic importance. While she holds fast to the shreds of her childhood --humoring her best friend Stuart who is determined to marry her, protecting her old neighbor, slow-witted Starletta, she negotiates her way into a larger world --selling her poetry for money to pay her way to a camp for gifted students. With a singular mix of perspicacity, naiveté and compassion, Ellen draws us into her life and makes us fall in love with her all over again.
From the Hardcover edition.
Review: The cynical view of Kaye Gibbons's The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster would be that the Poor Little Match Girl has morphed into Cinderella. Ellen Foster, a book anointed by Oprah's Book Club®, was the tale of young Ellen, daughter of a neurasthenic twit of a mother and a drunken abusive father, who was tossed out of her wicked aunt's home on Christmas Day (Shades of Dickens!). Plucky Ellen fetcheed up at the doorstep of her chosen foster mother and life settled down.
This book begins with a too cute, aggressively innocent letter to Derek Bok, President of Harvard University, asking for early admission. Now that Ellen is 15, she believes that she is ready for a larger world, a better education and a different life. That pursuit becomes an incidental subtext to ongoing events. The next two-thirds of the book feels experimental, with a jumpy, jerky style, information left out, information left in that goes nowhere--not easy reading. Then, Gibbons takes control of her story and turns everything upside down, in Ellen's favor.
There are some priceless exchanges in the book. Regarding an insight that comes to one for the first time: "It didn't matter if a thousand scholars studied how Madame Bovary probably wouldn't have had to rot from the inside if she'd read better books in her girlhood, if the idea strikes you in Baltimore in a room full of people who say they already know, my theory is it's still your personal view." And this, when she is annoying her friend, Stuart: "Stuart, I said, I never know what to do when you decide to let me in on an argument you've been having for us."
So, what does all of this add up to? A good, not great, sequel to the quite good Ellen Foster that is only an adjective away from mawkishness and sentimentality. If we adopt the aforementioned cynical view, the story becomes a treacly fable where the good prevail--and even get rich. A more generous view is that Ellen has suffered enough and it's her turn. Read it and take your pick. --Valerie Ryan
Title: The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster
Binding: No binding
Book Condition: Good
Book Description No binding. Condition: Good. Former library audio book. Will have library markings and stickers and possibly no inserts. Plays perfectly. audio book. Seller Inventory # 012-5790-XX35
Book Description Random House, 2005. Audio Book (CD). Condition: Good. 5 AUDIO CDs withdrawn from the library. Some library marking, sticker and stamp. We will polish the CDs for a smoother quality of sound. Enjoy this reliable AUDIO CD performance. Seller Inventory # BBCuCD061411195
Book Description Random House, Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A., 2005. AudioCD. Condition: New. 5 AUDIO CDs Brand New Factory Sealed in the shrink wrap box. NEW. Enjoy this gift quality audio performance!. Seller Inventory # NEWAudio7159061
Book Description Random House Audio, U.S.A., 2005. Audio CD. Condition: Good. Five AUDIO CDs withdrawn from the library collection. We will polish each CD for a clear listening experience. Some library shelf wear. You will receive a worthwhile set. Enjoy this reliable Audio CD performance. Audio Book. Seller Inventory # 14J1Auerbach197
Book Description Random House Audio, Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A., 2005. Audio CD. Condition: Good. 5 AUDIO CDS polished for your satisfaction for a worthwhile set, withdrawn from the library collection. Some library marking to the box and the CDs. The CDs are in individual sleeves protected and clear sounding. We will make sure to the clean the CDs. In this way you will be able to have a smooth listening experience. Audio Book. Seller Inventory # 429794297913217
Book Description Random House Audio, 2005. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0739321900
Book Description Random House Audio, 2005. Audio CD. Condition: Good. Unabridged. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0739321900