Gibbons’ Ellen Foster

“Oh but I do remember when I was scared. Everything was so wrong like somebody had knocked something loose and my family was shaking itself to death.”

The young girl in Kaye Gibbons first novel Ellen Foster describes the wild ride of her family in a distinct voice. Ellen describes the death of her parents and other horrors in simple, powerful language true to a young girl. There’s also humor in the story. I heard Gibbons lecture years ago and could hear the voice of her characters in her own drawling voice. She talked about trying to write with her three daughters in the house. In one interview she said, “My life is equally divided between literature and laundry…” She went on to say, “…as writing and mothering are the only two enterprises I’ve ever been fully confident at, two similar tasks, working toward the same end, seeing to it that blank slates are filled with life and love.”

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