Being Fishkill

Being Fishkill

by Ruth Lehrer


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Fishkill Carmel fends for herself, with her fists if need be — until a thwarted lunch theft introduces her to strange, sunny Duck-Duck and a chance for a new start.

Born in the backseat of a moving car, Carmel Fishkill was unceremoniously pushed into a world that refuses to offer her security, stability, love. At age thirteen, she begins to fight back. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel, who deflects her tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets eccentric optimist Duck-Duck Farina, and soon they, along with Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother — and by unfathomable tragedy. Poet Ruth Lehrer’s young adult debut is a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains “family.” And, just as it does for Fishkill, meeting Duck-Duck Farina and her mother will leave readers forever changed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763684426
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ruth Lehrer is a poet, author, and American Sign Language interpreter. She lives in the woods of western Massachusetts.

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Being Fishkill 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel about class division and what makes a family is often painful to read. But it has happy moments too. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This needs to be on everyone's radar! Tragic and triumphant and stunningly gorgeous writing! A book I could not put down and even now, months after reading it, the characters have stayed with me. It's a wonder and Ruth Lehrer is a writer to watch!
KarenHallam More than 1 year ago
What a work of art, beautifully written, thoroughly painful and difficult to read at times, the author also had me laughing out loud with her poignant humor, which was needed considering the life twelve-year-old Carmen Fishkill has to deal with. Fishkill endures some staggering odd in life until she finds allies. She’ tough, no doubt about it; she moves forward, and then back again, and you just can’t stop reading this painful, hopeful, agonizing, and life-affirming book. You won't be able to forget it, either. A literary treat, by poet and author Ruth Lehrer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never has a book made me laugh and cry so hard, page after page, from beginning to the end. Fishkill and Duck-Duck (Duk-Duk) are two of my favorite book people: Fishkill, who is TOO strong and resilient for her own good, and Duck-Duck, with her hilarious grasp of the legal system. The writing is poetic (no wonder, the author is a poet), and the description of food made me yearn for waffle and jam for lunch, roast chicken, and Yodels, the one thing Fishkill knows she’ll need to survive. I love how quirky these two friends are together and how their flawed logic actually makes sense in a world that is completely nonsensical. This is a book that will move you and leave you shaken, broken, and yet somehow, “re-carnated.”
QuinnenDonnelly More than 1 year ago
There are some books that remind you exactly why you write. And that's funny, because they're often the books that are so well-written, whose prose is so clear, so honest, so true, and whose characters feel so utterly real that you simultaneously want to just give up at writing because your writing can never be *that* good. BEING FISHKILL is one of those rare books. Lehrer's writing cuts to the bone with her searingly honest portrayal of twelve-year-old Fishkill Carmel. Named after a highway sign, Fishkill has had a hard go at it for the first dozen years of her life, with an abusive grandfather and a neglectful mother as her legal caregivers. But things change when she meets Duck-Duck, a precocious and unforgettable newcomer to her school. Duck-Duck doesn't just befriend her, but sweeps her into her life, fully, a stable life of comfort and plenty, with a single mother, Molly, with extra love to give. I hesitate to speak more of the plot for fear of giving anything away, so I'll end with this: Duck-Duck and Fishkill are two characters that will stay with you forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been anxiously awaiting Lehrer's debut novel, Being Fishkill, and having just finished it, it was worth the wait. Honest, gritty and moving, this is the story of Fishkill Carmel, whose mother named her after a New York highway sign they pass as she gives birth to her. Originally named Carmel, Fishkill decides to reinvent herself - to become tougher and more dangerous so that no one can hurt her. Then she meets Duck-Duck, and Duck-Duck's mom, Molly, and finds her life changed. This book was beautifully written. I felt so much for Fishkill. She felt so real to me. I know that the characters of Fishkill, Duck-Duck and Molly will be with me for a long time. I am so excited to re-read this again when it comes out in November. I am very much looking forward to Lehrer's next book.
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
Fishkill Carmel is a tough-as-nails heroine with a desperate secret. Christine Farina, better known as Duck-Duck, is the quirky idealist who sees through the tough façade and appoints herself Fishkill’s new best friend. What follows is a tale full of poignant moments of friendship, exploring everything from the stirrings of sexual attraction between the two girls, to the nuances of girl bullying, to the ways the system fails those without resources. What I loved most about this book is that it treats Fishkill’s struggles with middle school social life with the same gravity it treats her family situation – only fitting, as both are integral parts of a middle schooler’s life. Fishkill’s inimitable voice – all hardness yearning for softness – comes through from page one, and readers will root for her to find the family she so needs. Just as in the real world, no one gets off easy, and no character is all good or all bad. Prepare to have your heart broken and put back together again by this funny, sad, immersive, and excellent book.
MarisaR More than 1 year ago
This book left me gobsmacked and bowled over in admiration of Ruth Lehrer’s talent. I savored every single inch of BEING FISHKILL. Every single sentence in this book matters. Every. Single. One. It was this perfect balance of raw, visceral real life, and the humor was just so good in that punch you in the gut way. I'm not being articulate. I'm not being pretty. But I'm seriously BLOWN AWAY by this book. I am so excited for this book to be out in the world for people to know and love Fishkill (and Duck Duck and Molly and Worm) as much as I do. Powerful and brilliant. A must-read.
SMParker More than 1 year ago
This novel is phenomenal. BEYOND phenomenal. I fell in love with the fierce 12-year-old Fishkill on page one and my love for her never dissipated. Even now, long after I’ve closed the book, Fishkill stays with me. She is vibrant and strong and so full of life. She is unlike any other character I’ve met in a book and for that reason alone you should pick up this debut. There are a million reasons why you won’t be able to put it down. Lehrer’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of rural poverty and the will it takes to survive abuse and neglect. Her writing ensnares you as you learn the story of a young girl who endures a loveless childhood—and see her wrestle with the enormous leap of faith it takes for her to trust people after a lifetime of being disappointed, and worse. Lehrer gets rural poor right. The isolation, the systemic lack of education and access, the hunger and need. Being Fishkill is not an easy novel to read at times but it is an important one. It will change you. The two main characters—Fishkill and DuckDuck—are two of the most inspiring, brilliant, REAL kids I’ve met on the page. You will love them. You will cry for them. It is hard to write a review for this book because it is so lovely and so richly crafted, but it is also painful. There is truth on the page. Hard truth. This book utterly wrecked me. I was stunned by its beauty (both language and story) and I couldn’t put it down. I wouldn’t put it down. Lehrer has crushed my heart into a million pieces and I will never forgive her for it. Okay, I will. But I’m not ready yet. I am left with a voracious hunger to read whatever Lehrer writes next. Do yourself a favor and read this book. It is a triumph.