A Childhood Lost and Found
by Jennifer Lauck
Memoir of the author\’s childhood, from the time she was about five years old to eleven. She had a rough time. As a preschooler she tended to her mother, who was chronically ill but they had a very close relationship, just her and her mom in the house together while her dad was at work and her older brother in school. After many years of suffering her mother died. The grief-stricken little girl was confused by her father\’s apparent relief and hasty remarriage, their move to a newer, bigger house, her stepmother\’s unkindness, her father\’s increasing absence… things go from bad to worse, blow after blow. She\’s not physically abused by the family, but constantly ignored and made to feel unwanted. Soon it becomes clear that her stepmother doesn\’t care for them at all, only wants the money from social security checks. Her older brother strikes out in anger and aloofness but Jennifer learns to be self-sufficient beyond her years, sticking it out even when she doesn\’t understand what\’s going on. It\’s really very sad but she\’s such a determined character, my heart ached and I wanted to know what would happen next, every page. I really enjoyed the way the story was written, from her perspective as a child. The voice felt very authentic. Even though at times I was a bit frustrated not knowing details that were obscure to her as a little girl, but obviously had an answer somewhere- particularly, where were her relatives when she was left alone with the cruel stepmom? I was shocked at different turns the story took- the events at the summer camp, the commune her stepmother dumped her in- how many heartless abandonments could one child absorb? but she comes through it all with gritty determination to show everyone she can survive. I think I want to read the sequel, too; it\’s the kind of book that leaves you wanting to know what happened after- especially because this one is true!
I got this book at a library sale, read it for the random challenge.
Rating: 3/5 …….. 406 pages, 2000