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Publisher's Summary

"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."

So begins the tale of Ellen Foster, the brave and engaging heroine of Kaye Gibbons' first novel, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Wise, funny, affectionate and true, Ellen Foster is, as Walker Percy called it, "The real thing. Which is to say, a lovely, sometimes heart-wrenching novel...[Ellen Foster] is as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character, and a good deal more endearing."

©1996 Kaye Gibbons, All Rights Reserved (P)1996 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved. Audioworks is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • An Oprah Book Club Selection

"The story of a redoubtable girl who overcomes adversity with humor, spunk, and determination, Kaye Gibbons's first novel is a work of considerable subtlety and intellectual sophistication. A terrific book." (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World)
"Filled with lively humor, compassion, and integrity...Ellen Foster may be the most trustworthy character in recent fiction." (Alice Hoffman, the New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • Whitehall, MI, USA
  • 08-06-03

Ellen Foster

I chanced upon this wonderful book when it first came out.I was immediately taken in by the story being told by the resilient and wise little girl,Ellen.Her story,sometimes gut-wrenching,sometimes hysterically funny,held me until the end.Ms.Gibbons has an extraordinary talent for turning just the right phrase,or finding humor in an anything but humorous situation.I was especially touched by the way Ellen slowly changed her circumstances from hellish to safe and secure,at last.I can't find any fault with this book.It remains one of my very favorites,and I read it at least once a year.Ms.Gibbons' unique story-telling skills have allowed me to enjoy all of her books,starting with Ellen Foster.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Providence Forge, VA, USA
  • 12-04-03

My last purchase of an abridged audiobook

I think that I would have enjoyed the unabridged version if it were available. I found this much too "choppy" and difficult to follow and was unable to finish the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Authors Do Not Read Your Own Work

While I love the story I can't get through the reading of this book. I would suggest to ALL authors PAY A PROFESSIONAL TO READ YOUR WORK. Writing is COMPLETELY different than performing the work. It the same as having Steven King act in a movie he has written. It is just NOT MEANT TO BE.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Peggy
  • Point Richmond, CA, USA
  • 06-26-05

Good Read

I found this book such an enjoyable read. It's the story of a young woman with a lot of spunk making it on her own. I've re-read it a few times just to relive the excitement of seeing life through her young, hopeful, determined eyes. Very uplifting female empowering novel. I especially recommend it to someone from late teens thru twenties.