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4.3 out of 5 stars28
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 19 September 2006
A story of two sisters having to cope through the ordeal of their abusive stepfather and a momma who doesn't seem to care may at first strike you as an emotional and for some a painfull read.

But Elizabeth Flock choses to write this from the perspective of an eight year old girl Carrie Parker, and it is a talent that most deservely should be acknowledged. Although at times some concepts of this book seem almost cruel their are some beautiful lines from this little girl Carrie, that really made me laugh and you could imagine the same words coming from one of your own younger siblings. Elizabeth Flock effortlessly manages to reel you in with Carries story and relive some of our own childhood antics.

Men - do not be discouraged by the girlie cover or the fact it is about two sisters. The perspective in which this story is told is remarkable and you will find yourself smiling at some of the lines.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2006
This was a great book, I have already loaned it to my daughter and then it'll do the rounds of my book group.

The narrator is 8 year old Carrie, who has to deal with a mother who has never really recovered from the death of her first husband, and Richard, the alcoholic, abusive stepfather.

6 year old Emma is Carrie's constant companion, without whom life would become intolerable.

They move from their hometown, where the local shopkeeper gives Carrie a job to keep her out of her home environment, to a village many miles away. Here Carrie befriends Mr Wilson, an elderly guy who teaches her to shoot tin cans.

As things deteriorate at home she spends more time with Mr Wilson and his three legged dog, Brownie.

Sadly many children find themselves in abusive situations, but what brought it home to me was that even the grandmother was unable or unwilling to help. Carrie only had Emma to rely on.

Don't be put off by the reference to abuse, although it hovers in the background throughout the book, it is not overplayed. The ending is brilliant and took me completely by surprise, but it made so much sense.

Buy this book, and then buy the one it's paired with; Twins by Marcy Dermansky, which is also excellent!
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2006
"Tell me what's going on honey--" her voice is practically begging me to cry. "You can talk to me."

I gulp and say, "Nothing's going on ma'am."

"I've half a mind to come on out and talk to your parents."

This book was my introduction to Elizabeth Flock and I must say that I was not in the least disappointed. Fast paced, the author brings us into the lives of the Parkers and their two daughters Carrie and Emma. After the death of their dad, the Parkers are forced to live up to he expectations of their mum's new husband and stepfather Richard, a drunkard and control freak.

The story told through the eyes of eight year old Carrie the older of teh two, was for me heart breaking and sorrowful at times, but through it all the children remained daring and courageous, and kept you guessing what could possibly be the outcome of this dysfunctional family. It is impossible to read this book without being touched, but you will be more so when the book ends and you are shocked out of your wits. And that shocked is with a capital S. Nothing is ever what it seems.

Highly recommended!!

Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 05/09/06)
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on 7 January 2006
From the first time you are introduced to Carrie, you are rooting for her. She is like every little girl you have ever known. Yet throughout the book, you are aware that her life isn't "normal" or what we perceive as normal. We are then taken into Carrie and Emmas world, we are constantly drawn into their little environment. Because you feel so much for Carrie, and Emma too, it starts to be difficult to read, especially what sort of life they have to endure. And you want the happy ending so much it hurts. When you get towards the last few chapters when the pieces all fall into place, you are left breathless, and by the time you get to the last sentence, you will be sobbing. This book won't leave your mind, you think about it for months, in my case, after you finish it. Me and Emma wasn't recommended to me, I found it by accident, but it has to be one of the most powerful books I have read. The writer keeps the reader gripped, you have to keep reading. I couldn't put it down. Because it is written from a childs viewpoint, it makes it all the more powerful. From the writing, characterizations, plot, everything about this book screams classic. I have read many books in my lifetime, but nothing as evocative as this. All I can say is BUY IT- BUY IT- BUY IT!!
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on 18 July 2005
A fantastic read that was thoroughly absorbing and impossible to put down. Heartbreaking at times, but beatutifully written with an astonishing twist at the end.
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on 22 September 2005
This book is brilliant.
A family broken and down but not quite out. Two sisters having to protect and look out for each other against their brutal stepfather and seemingly uncaring mother.
A super twist right at the end that will take your breath away.A super twist which is very believable although shocking in some ways.
A very readable book. To give too much information would be to spoil the ending.
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on 26 September 2005
One of the most amazing books I have ever read. A total emotional rollercoaster. I wanted to jump in the book and bring those children home with me, the ending was so unpredictable and I do not think I will ever forget this story.
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on 23 March 2009
This is the first book I had read by this author and I think I'll be digging out some more.
The story follows 8 year old Carrie Parker, whose Dad is dead, her Mum neglects her and her step-dad is abusive towards her. She is jealous of her younger sister Emma as she is braver, stronger and wiser. The story investigates the sister's relationships as they move home and move on with their lives. You are rooting for Carrie and Emma all through the book and although it was sometimes slow, the ending caught me by surprise. I had a moment of realisation and found myself flicking back through the book to clarify my findings. The emotion written from Carries point of view is very well portrayed and her fight for survival is strong throughout. A good read.
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on 13 August 2005
Don't normally do this sort of thing, but this was a wonderful book, beautifully written and I loved every word. I was there with the family.
What an excellent imagination Elizabeth Flock has and as another reviewer said, I too am now going to go back and read it again.
Will be passing this one around
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on 20 November 2009
In one word - heartbreaking! A warning though, it is a disturbing subject, so be prepared to feel uncomfortable. In hindsight it does have its flaws, but this one has haunted me since I read it years ago, so I can't help but review it positively. I will admit it did lose a little on my second more recent reading, but I'm putting that down to hindsight, and having lost a little of the naivety I had on my first reading.

The story centres on two sisters, who have very little in the world except for each other (dead father, emotionally absent mother, abusive step-father), and is told from the point of view of Carrie, an 8 year old and the big sister. The language is that of a child which is mostly very well crafted (although sometimes a little too sophisticated to be believable). All of Carrie's observations are spot on, and in her child-like prose, very, very affecting.

There will be points in the story where you wonder if it is going anywhere, but it is worth persevering. The story is told in the present, alongside flashbacks to happier times when her father was alive. This contrast adds necessary layers to what is going on in the present.

I found myself completely absorbed: wishing, hoping, praying for a happy ending for these girls, and that is what made it special for me. The ending quite simply broke my heart. You almost know as you're reading, but until that confirmation comes, you still harbour hope. A book that can make me really feel for the characters is always a treasure.

I have given it 4 stars because as I said it lost something for me the second time around. Had I written this review the first time I would have given it 5 stars without question, as I cried real tears for those girls.

I would definitely recommend this book.
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