Baby of the Family

Baby of the Family

3.7 3
by Tina McElroy Ansa
     
 

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An evocative, delicately comic story of a girl’s coming of age. From the moment of her birth in a rural black hospital in Georgia, Lena McPherson is recognized as a special child, with the power to see ghosts and predict the future. Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.

Overview

An evocative, delicately comic story of a girl’s coming of age. From the moment of her birth in a rural black hospital in Georgia, Lena McPherson is recognized as a special child, with the power to see ghosts and predict the future. Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this engaging coming-of-age novel by a new black writer, young Lena McPherson leads a charmed life, secure in her family and in the world Ansa evokes. Born in 1949 in a private blacks-only hospital in rural Georgia, Lena is the third child and longed-for first daughter of Nellie and Jonah, who own the local bar and liquor store. Considered ``special'' because she was born with a caul, believed to bestow sight into the future, Lena learns as a toddler that her special powers have more to do with the past: she can see and talk with ghosts. Despite her extraordinary talent, Lena is most memorable for the ordinariness of her everyday life. Following Lena's first friendships, her years at school, her observations of her parents' sometimes stormy relationship, her grief at her grandmother's death, Ansa beautifully renders Lena's stable, well-off world. Readers get a view of middle-class black small-town life in the relatively placid mid-century, a time when a grandmother scorns the black families who vacation at the beach, and where a little girl often feels her life is dictated solely by demands that she keep her hair dry and combed. Ansa's thorough and affectionate portrait marks her as a writer of both promise and achievement. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
YA-- A coming-of-age novel with ethnic and supernatural threads that weave reality with the mystical. Born in Georgia in the late 1950s, Lena McPherson was special at birth--she was born with a caul or veil over her face, indicating the presence of magical and psychic powers. Young adults are sure to relate to Lena as she grows up with her family, her peers, and the other adults who frequent her parents' successful bar and liquor store business. Besides the human characters, Lena also learns to deal with apparitions that only she can see, such as Rachel, a young slave who gives Lena insight into what slavery was like and the emotional effects it had on the individual. Ansa's dialogue is realistic, and her characters are colorful. The supernatural elements are well blended into the novel, adding to the richness of the fiction.-- Krystal K. Irven, Willowridge High School, Sugarland, TX

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156101509
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/28/1991
Series:
Harvest Book Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
276
Sales rank:
800,572
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)
Lexile:
1150L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Tina McElroy Ansa is the author of Baby of the Family, The Hand I Fan With, and You Know Better. A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she can be seen on the CBS News Sunday Morning segment "Postcards from Georgia." She lives with her husband on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

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Baby of the Family 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had read so many great things about the author that I decided to check out all her books starting from the beginning with Baby of the Family. Although I think the author did a great job with imagery and detailed description, I was somewhat slightly disappointed with the plot. It started off great ¿ Lena¿s birth with the veil over her face, visits from ghosts, and the superstitious undertones set the tone for a juicy plot and then NOTHING for the majority of the book. I was so disappointed; the novel had great potential to be so much better. It went on to become an elongated coming of age story that concentrated on select moments of Lena¿s adolescence. Interesting characters were sprinkled in the book; but often exited with no closure to their story lines. I actually found myself wanting to know more about other characters, as they were more interesting than the mediocre clips into Lena¿s teenage years. I enjoyed the author¿s style but questioned the delivery of plot. I haven¿t given up on the author; I hope to jump into Ugly Ways next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was good but the author used very drab adjectives and the book didn't really start until the end was near. When I bought the book, I referred to the back of the book summary for guidance on the book and it turned out to be almost the opposite of what the book really was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story while mysterious in nature takes you through the life of a young girl struggling with her ancestral spirits. Her calling is evident but the ride Ansa takes you on throughout the book is funny, frightening, and heartwarming.