• Like Family

  • Growing Up in Other People's Houses, a Memoir
  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Wendy Tremont King
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Like Family  By  cover art

Like Family

By: Paula McLain
Narrated by: Wendy Tremont King
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Publisher's summary

This powerful and haunting memoir details the years Paula McLain and her two sisters spent as foster children after being abandoned by both parents in California in the early 1970s.

As wards of the State, the sisters spent the next 14 years moving from foster home to foster home. The dislocations, confusions, and odd pleasures of an unrooted life form the basis of one of the most compelling memoirs in recent years - a book in the tradition of Jo Ann Beard's The Boys of My Youth and Mary Karr's The Liars' Club.

McLain's beautiful writing and limber voice capture the intense loneliness, sadness, and determination of a young girl both on her own and responsible, with her siblings, for staying together as a family.

©2003 Paula McLain (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Like Family

Average customer ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars

A famous writer describes her life growing up in foster care

I enjoy Paula McLain’s books and storytelling style. She brings the same engaging style to the telling of her own life. I definitely recommend it.

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4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Foster Care Personalized

A complete story of a childhood lived in foster care. My stars are for courage and honesty.

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2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I loved Paula-McLain ‘s novels and was hoping to learn more about how and why she wrote them. i found this memoir bleak, depressing and poorly written. I am thankful it is behind me.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A must read

Excellent view of life as a foster child. Recommend reading for all that work with children in foster care.

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Had potential but never reached it

TERRIBLE narration. Monotonous voice with no inflections. I almost couldn’t bear to finish listening to this book, but I admire the author’s writing so much I wanted to just learn more about her. This book could have been so much more if it hadn’t dwelled so long on details that really led nowhere. I’m disappointed in the book but not sorry that I stuck it out to finish it. She almost seemed to be getting into her stride in the last chapter, but then it ended.

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1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Flat and slow moving

This book is a struggle. Flat narration and the story just doesn't move forward . I just can't wait any longer for it to get started.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

Very easy listening and brought back some memories for me--good ones of good times in childhood--which was surprising since the story overall was far from idyllic. The excellent narration kept the story upbeat despite some very sad circumstances.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Crude

As a foster parent for the last 25 years I was interested in reading this story. I’m not sure if this is based on a true story or not, but I have read other true stories about children in foster care and they do suffer some incredibly sad things that are very well written and not in such an extremely crude form. Experiences can be shared without foul language being crude. Different then the time this book was written foster parents are now trained and screened very carefully. There is always a family that slips through the cracks of though. I tried to get through this book up but I had to finally close it and return it.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

All the Elements, But Missed the Mark

Performance: she "read" the book (groan), was a bit monotone, and needs to work on her voices. I did get used to her, but it wasn't lively, despite the rollercoaster of events in the book.

Story: I'll say this: interesting choices regarding the timeline. I wasn't a fan, but I can see where some might like it. I'm not one who has to have the story unfold from start to finish, but the overall story arc does have to "make sense." Sometimes, the near future would interrupt a story of the past, and give away key details that would have been better to let unfold.

Good descriptions, and also great metaphors, but a little thick with them at times, esp. when filling one sentence with three or more, which was difficult to digest.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

honest

it feels like an honest memoir. the story plays out in a continuous stream of memory with people and places coming and going as they do in childhood. but this also makes the knowing of characters as impossible for the reader as it was for the narrator ... that's the point. so, in that way it really is an excellent representation of the author's life and that is not for anyone to review. it just is. harsh and vulnerable and disturbing and sad.

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