Foster Care: Background information when reading How to Make Friends with the Dark

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

How to Make Friends with the Dark

by Kathleen Glasgow

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow X
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2019, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2020, 432 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
Buy This Book

About this Book

Foster Care

This article relates to How to Make Friends with the Dark

Print Review

Statistics about the number of children in foster care In Kathryn Glasgow's How to Make Friends with the Dark, 16-year-old Tiger learns that her mother is dead, and almost equally upsetting, she can't even go somewhere familiar to stay while she figures out how to adjust to being an orphan; with no known father or other relatives, she is relegated to the legal responsibility of the state of Arizona and uprooted from the life and the people she knew. Though she is given a grace period of one night in her home, she is then taken to a series of foster homes. I think most readers will find the immediate removal of any agency from the teenager just as jarring as Tiger herself does. She is thrust out of the push and pull of normal adolescent rebellion with her mother into a situation that requires great maturity to navigate, while simultaneously losing the ability to make decisions or advocate for herself.

In the U.S., generally speaking, if a minor loses both parents (or their only known parent as in the case of Tiger) the first thing that happens is that the state looks to see if any provisions have been made in terms of a designated legal guardian. If there is no will or other document with such information, the state looks for living relatives. As Thaddeus, another of the foster children who Tiger meets, says, "blood goes to blood" – even if there is not necessarily a relationship there. If there are no obvious, reachable relatives, the child is remanded to the care of the state and is placed in a foster home – or sometimes several – as the logistics of their future are worked out. This is the process even if there are friends or neighbors who are willing to take the child; if they have not been named legal guardians in the case of the parents' deaths, they cannot be given guardianship, even temporarily.

Foster homes vary greatly; while the state is meant to require training and certification, and perform checks on a regular basis, as Tiger finds out, there are many, many kinds of people and homes are managed in different ways. Foster parents have the right to set times and amounts for sleeping and eating, can lock food away, and may also decide how much or how little space the children have within their house. Both the case workers and the foster parents also have the right to search belongings. Tiger experiences both sides of the scale, and in the process sees the difficulties other children and teenagers have had to face in their lives. Should rules be broken, or the foster children get in any legal trouble or use drugs or alcohol, they can find themselves bound for juvenile detention. Based on data released in Oct 2017, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), there were 437,465 children in foster care in fiscal year 2016 in the United States, with a mean age of 8.5.

In addition to exploring Tiger's grief, How to Make Friends with the Dark makes clear how overtaxed the systems that are meant to protect children are. Like the loss of her mother, her time in the foster system forces Tiger to grow up faster and grapple with previously unconsidered realities, and thus, so too must the reader.

Foster care statistics, courtesy of American SPCC

Filed under Society and Politics

This "beyond the book article" relates to How to Make Friends with the Dark. It originally ran in June 2019 and has been updated for the May 2020 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Stories from Suffragette City
    Stories from Suffragette City
    by M.J. Rose, Fiona Davis
    Our First Impressions readers were fascinated by the historical fiction from a range of authors ...
  • Book Jacket: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    by Marie Benedict
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, notable author of previous historical fiction such ...
  • Book Jacket: To Be a Man
    To Be a Man
    by Nicole Krauss
    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Office of Historical Corrections
    The Office of Historical Corrections
    by Danielle Evans
    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    At the Edge of the Haight
    by Katherine Seligman

    Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates
How can we summon a moment of lift for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.
Who Said...

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T M T C, T M T Stay T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.