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Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses

Paula McLain
# UQ3182 Paperback, 260 pages; 2013 (2003)
No Longer Available
I enjoyed reading Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, so when I learned that its author would be speaking at the Margaret Mitchell House here in Atlanta, I was eager to attend. In talking about her new book, Love and Ruin (the fictional biography of Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway's third wife), McLain mentioned that her first book was a memoir about growing up as a foster child in the child welfare system in Fresno, California. I was intrigued and immediately read Like Family. I couldn't believe that the confident, beautiful, elegant woman I had heard speak had been abandoned by her parents and, along with her two sisters, was shuttled from foster home to foster home from the age of four until she "aged out" at 18. Like Family is McLain's brutally honest and steadfast memoir of that time, of growing up not knowing where you'll live tomorrow, of carrying your meager possessions around in plastic garbage bags. The only constants in her life were her two sisters and the public library. Her memoir offers a touching and terrifying glimpse into a world most of us are very fortunate not to have known from the inside. And yet she survived and thrived. (EE)
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