Life for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair

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With the same acute observation, humor, and compassion she brought to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me?. Sheehan tells the story of one family's passage through the child-welfare system. A searing account of poverty, addiction, and abuse which poses inescapable questions about our society.

With the same acute observation, humor, and compassion she brought to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me?. Sheehan tells the ...

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Overview

With the same acute observation, humor, and compassion she brought to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me?. Sheehan tells the story of one family's passage through the child-welfare system. A searing account of poverty, addiction, and abuse which poses inescapable questions about our society.

With the same acute observation, humor, and compassion she brought to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me?. Sheehan tells the story of one family's passage through the child-welfare system. A searing account of poverty, addiction, and abuse which poses inescapable questions about our society.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reprinted from the New Yorker , this searching and graceful book limns a black family's entrenchment in the New York City foster-care system, a system which, says Sheehan, costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year. In 1984, 14-year-old Crystal Taylor and her newborn, Daquan Jr., were placed in foster care because Crystal's mother, Florence, was an itinerant drug addict. Sheehan (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me? ) tracks Crystal and Daquan Jr.'s odyssey through foster care and details Crystal's family history. A drug and alcohol abuser since grade school, Crystal witnessed her father's near-death from heroin, was sodomized by an uncle at the age of four, was sexually abused by others and was regularly beaten by Florence, herself an abused child and a product of the foster-care system who eventually placed five other children in foster care as well. Daquan Jr. was fostered by a black middle-class family while Crystal chose to live in a group home where she readily made friends but where she flunked her school courses, was arrested for possession of drugs and for shoplifting, and dated drug dealers, two of whom were murdered. In 1992, Crystal, a mail clerk at an advertising agency, finally accepted responsibility for her son and brought him to live with her in the Brooklyn apartment that she rents. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winner Sheehan, author of Is There No Place on Earth for Me? ( LJ 5/15/82), depicts three generations of a New York inner - city family raised in foster care. We meet 14-year-old Crystal Taylor as she and her premature infant son are discharged to separate placements in 1984. Crystal's four younger siblings follow after their mother, Florence, a drug addict, who can no longer care for them. Eight years later, the family is reunited; Crystal has completed her G.E.D., and Florence has finished a treatment program; both are working, though the family is struggling along, buttressed by social service organizations. In Joelle Sanders's similar work, Before Their Time: Four Generations of Teenage Mothers (Harcourt, 1991), a family tells their story in their own words. Recommended for public libraries.-- Lucille Boone, San Jose P.L., Cal.
School Library Journal
YA-This Pulitzer Prize winning author has written a poignant and moving tale of foster care in America. Sheehan tells the story of Florence, an African American; her oldest child, Crystal; and Crystal's son, nine-year-old Daquan. Although interviews with Crystal's younger siblings and social workers are incorporated, this narrative is told mainly from Crystal's point of view. At age 14, she gave premature birth to her son. Because she was a minor and her mother was a drug addict, she and her baby were placed in two different foster homes by the state of New York. The author demonstrates how the many moves from one home to another, from one social worker to another, and from one institution to another affected this young woman and her child, and vividly shows the impact of institutional neglect and abuse on dysfunctional families. However, Crystal is a realist and a fighter and successfully takes on the battles of her mother, siblings, and son to improve their lives. This is a compelling tale written in a spare, nonjudgmental style. It's easy to read and informative.-Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD
Sandy Whiteley
In the last two decades, the number of children in foster care in America has exploded. Increasing drug abuse and the spiraling number of births to young teens have contributed to the growing number of children who live with someone other than family members. This new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Susan Sheehan chronicles the lives of three generations of one family raised in foster care. Fourteen-year-old Crystal Taylor is released into foster care after the birth of her son, since her mother (who grew up in foster care) is a drug addict. At the same time, Crystal's baby is placed in another foster home. In her usual spare style, with no editorializing, Sheehan shows the impact of impaired families on society ($6 billion a year and a host of social problems) and on the individual children who suffer. As she did in her earlier books, such as "Is There No Place on Earth for Me"?, Sheehan makes us see the human faces behind the statistics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679414728
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/24/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 174

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