Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock

This pitch-perfect novel written from the viewpoint of eight-year-old Carrie Parker is a distressing and disturbing tale of poverty and child abuse in the rural south.

Carrie's only defense against a drunken and abusive stepfather and an emotionally absent mother is her imagination, and her little sister Emma. Daydreams, imagination, and Emma stand between Carrie and the cruel reality of her life like a shield. To try to cope, she stays away from home as much as possible, and the sympathetic druggist, Mr. White, and his cashier, Miss Mary. give Carrie a "job"straightening bottles and crushing cardboard boxes at the town drugstore to give her a break from the horrors of her home life.

Living in a world of daydreams, Carrie grows absentminded and that and her unkempt appearance make her the butt of jokes and taunting at school. And she pines for her kind, carefree, joking father who bought orangeade on paydays before he was tragically gunned down.

Ms. Flock captures the tone and thoughts of an eight-year-old perfectly, and ends her novel with a bang, which I won't spoil by giving it away. I really enjoyed this novel and would gladly read it again.

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