Monday, July 14, 2008

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

by L. M. Montgomery


I read somewhere that July marked the 100th anniversary of the original publication of Anne of Green Gables, so I decided to listen to this dramatization. What makes this audio a dramatization rather than an audiobook is that the script has been re-worked from the original text, so that instead of an oral reading the audio is like a verbal play with different actors and actresses playing each of the different characters.

While I was listening to this audio, I found myself laughing everywhere I drove. The actress who voiced Anne, portrayed her character as full of enthusiasm and dramatics while still sincere and conscientious. The supporting cast were equally talented, and I found that I enjoyed listening to the Canadian accents. The audio is short, only 2 hours and 30 minutes making this a sweet treat.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Ashley Rhodes-Courter was Ashley Rhodes, living in the United States’ foster care system from the age of three until her adoption at age 12. Her mom was not the best of mothers, a teenager who was arrested for passing a check stolen by her boyfriend. Her mother’s arrest precipitated Ashley’s entrance into foster care in Florida, and even though her mother was released, she was declared too destitute to get her children back, Ashley and Ashley’s half brother Luke. Ashley gives us her memories of different placements, which include an interlude of some months leaving Florida to live with her maternal grandfather and his girlfriend in South Carolina. While the girlfriend gives both children loving care, the grandfather has issues with violence and alcohol which eventually cause Ashley and Luke to go back to foster care. Altogether, Ashley lives in nine different placements, sometimes with and sometimes without her brother. Through Ashley’s eyes, you see even well-meaning case workers making no attempt to explain developments to a child in the system, and see some foster parents working the system for their own benefit, including one foster “mother” enjoying punishing both physically and mentally the children entrusted to her care. When children want to get help in these situations, they are often afraid to speak for fear of retribution by the foster parents. I especially liked Ashley’s account of her adoption and subsequent developments with her adoptive family. Written ten years after being adopted, her straightforward narration of her struggles to adapt to a secure situation speaks for itself and gives unique insight into her emotional adjustment.