Over the part seven months I have read four books dealing with foster children. After Tupac and D Foster, The Guardian, They Never Came Back and now, The Pinballs. Which one had the most realistic portrayal of the foster care system? Probably all four. The Pinballs and They Never Came Back had very positive portrayals of the system. The other two novels had much less sympathetic tales to tell. In the past year or so I've learned more about the system in real life and am discovering that it has its good side and its bad side because like the rest of the world, it is made up of fallible human beings.
The Pinballs is the story of three kids, two teens, a girl and guy, and one little boy, who are in the same foster home. Their foster parents are kind and giving. Carlie is a troubled but caring kid who has had to leave her home because he isn't able to get along with her step dad, who is basically a creep, but Carlie's mom has chosen him over her daughter. Henry's mom left him and his dad to join a commune and "find herself" and his father has turned to alcohol. His father also happened to run Harry over with his car, breaking both of Harry's legs. Young Thomas J. never knew his mom or dad. When he was just a toddler someone dropped him of on the side of the road. Two elderly women found him- twins who never lived apart, and raised him as best they could until they ended up in the hospital due to broken hips. Yeah, they broke their hips at the same time, too. The twin sister details make for a few smiles in this otherwise serious, but not totally depressing book. Carlie, Thomas J and Henry all have a lot to deal with- basically all three have been rejected by their birth families, though in different ways. I listened to this one on cd but it wasn't the first time I tried to read or listen to it. Well, it was the first time I tried to listen to it, but I did try to read it before, when I was young, at least a couple of times. I just couldn't get into it. Listening to it was good though, and I did enjoy it.
It is pretty dated, with references to Tony Orlando and Dawn, Rhoda and Cher when she will still with Sonny. But the one thing that dated it the most was that today's young adult books are way more tragic than this one. This book was written in the 70s and you can tell, not just because of the cultural references but because of the ending. There were so many MORE tragic things that could have happened and would have, if it had been published today!
Check out the covers! The one on the left is the one I remember from being a child. The one on the right is the current one. I just thought that was interesting!
What's Going On Here?
There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.