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ISBN: 9780349114774


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A Childhood Lost

by Jennifer Lauck

Category: Biographies / General
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 3 January 2002
Number of pages: 432

The house on Mary Street, Carson City, Nevada is the only place five-year-old Jennifer Lauck will ever call home. It's where the sky is deep blue, forever blue, and there are almost never any clouds up there. It's where Jennifer lives with her older brother B.J., her father and mother, and their two cats Moshe and Diane. It should be a perfect, peaceful childhood - but Jennifer's mother is ill, very ill, and a childhood is the last thing Jennifer is going to be allowed ...With the startling emotional immediacy of a fractured photo album, Jennifer Lauck's incandescent memoir is the story of an ordinary girl growing up in the late 1970s - and the extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. As Jennifer moves from Nevada to Hermosa Beach, California, from Palo Alto to Los Angeles we witness a child coping with things she shouldn't have to cope with. But what shines through BLACKBIRD is an unbreakable spirit and a sense of survival that is both profoundly moving and deeply inspiring.

A heart-wrenching memoir that covers six years of the author's childhood. Casting her thoughts back to her five-year-old self, Lauck recalls living in Nevada in 'the only house she will ever call home'. Hers is not a natural childhood for she bears the weight of her mother's illness on her little shoulders. 'Drop dead handsome' Daddy goes out to work - feisty eight-year-old brother BJ goes to school and Jennifer stays at home helping to put her dying mother 'together' to face a day of pills and pain and gallant efforts to play her part in family life. Narrating in the present tense, Jennifer unfolds the searing but unforgettable story of her life from five to 11 years old. With an immediacy that makes each incident leap from the page, there is a breathtaking urgency in her writing that forces us to continue reading as each agonizing incident is recounted and somehow we remain as optimistic as she is - surely Mom will get better one day? Surely Daddy's replacement lady-friend will turn out nicer than she seems? Surely someone will make Jennifer feel that she really belongs somewhere - that she needn't face a terrifying world entirely alone? By the time she reaches 11, so much has happened in her life, she has had her unbreakable spirit and faith in humanity tested so relentlessly that it is almost incredible she remains as loving, trusting and ultimately untarnished as she obviously is. This might have been a depressing story - but somehow it isn't because Lauck is a born survivor as well as a compellingly good storyteller. (Kirkus UK)

What the papers say:
The unblinking look of one child at a hard world. Written gloriously and movingly Frank McCourt, author of ANGELA'S ASHES This is one of those rare books that captures both the innocence of the child and the wisdom of the adult author. Beautifully written, utterly convincing, alternately heartbreaking and inspiring Hope Edelman, author of MOTHERLESS DAUGHTER Beautifully rendered and consummately moving...Lauck takes us into the mind of a child in all its terrible clarity, helplessness, fury and incomprehension. Tim Lott, THE TIMES As powerful as ANGELA'S ASHES. BLACKBIRD never asks for our sympathy, simply our wonder that any child should be asked to endure so much. EVE

Author's Biography:
Jennifer Lauck has won two Society of Professional Journalists awards for her work in television news and founded a public-relations company that represents non-fiction authors. She is now a full time writer living in Portland, Oregon and is currently at work on a sequel to BLACKBIRD.

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