Summary and book reviews of Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck

Blackbird

A Childhood Lost and Found

by Jennifer Lauck

Blackbird
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2000, 410 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2001, 432 pages

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Book Summary

An incandescent memoir of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.

With the startling emotional immediacy of a fractured family photo album, Jennifer Lauck's incandescent memoir is the story of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.

The house on Mary Street was home to Jennifer; her older brother B.J.; their hardworking father, who smelled like aftershave and read her Snow White; and their mother, who called her little daughter Sunshine and embraced Jackie Kennedy's sense of style. Through a child's eyes, the skies of Carson City were forever blue, and life was perfect -- a world of Barbies, Bewitched, and the Beatles. Even her mother's pain from her mysterious illness could be patted away with hairspray, powder, and a kiss on the cheek....But soon, everything Jennifer has come to love and rely on begins to crumble, sending her on a roller coaster of loss and loneliness. In a world unhinged by tragedy, where beautiful mothers die and families are warped by more than they can bear, a young girl must transcend a landscape of pain and mistreatment to discover her richest resource: her own unshakable will to survive.

Chapter One

The only house I'll ever call home is the one on Mary Street.

Mary Street is in Carson City, Nevada, and Carson City is flat valley to soft hills. Past the hills are the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When you look up, the sky is deep blue, forever blue, and there are almost never any clouds up there. The clouds that do come gather on top of the Sierras and they look like wadded-up tissue paper. Every now and then, a piece of cloud will tear away and float across the forever-blue sky.

There's one main street right down the middle of the city and it's called Carson Street. The state capital building is on Carson Street and the dome of the capital is painted silver since Nevada is the silver state. Over the silver dome, two flags kick the wind, one blue for Nevada, one red, white, and blue for America.

The Golden Nugget is on Carson Street too, but everyone just calls it the Nugget.

From the Nugget, you go a couple blocks and you can see the house ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A searing, soaring memoir of one girl's complicated and almost unbelievable childhood.

Publisher's Weekly

It's impossible not to be moved by the young girl's plight; it's equally impossible not to admire the adult's strength and courage in surviving it.

Author Blurb Frank McCourt Author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis
The unblinking look of one child at a hard world. Written gloriously and movingly.

Author Blurb Marion Winik Author of First Comes Love and Telling
Jennifer Lauck shares a different order of memory, expressed with heartrending immediacy and transparency.

Author Blurb Laura Cunningham Author of A Place in the Country
A tender and delicately rendered tale of a young girl's survival.

Author Blurb Diana Abu-Jaber Author of Arabian Jazz
Direct, evocative, and emotionally honest, Blackbird will haunt readers with its startling story and its vibrant narration.

Author Blurb Gregg Kleiner Author of Where River Turns to Sky
Blackbird is Lauck's stunning testament to the inborn ability children have to survive. By the book's bittersweet final pages, you're on your feet cheering for her.

Author Blurb Hope Edelman Author of Motherless Daughters
This is one of those rare books that captures both the innocence of the child narrator and the wisdom of the adult author....Blackbird is both a tribute to the author's mother and to her own powers of survival. I was so caught up in Jennifer's story I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, yet I didn't want this book to end

Reader Reviews

Mandy

This is the best book Ive ever read this year and will ever be! It's very moving and there should be no other rating apart from 5!

Emma

best book i've read in a long time. i knew nothing about the book before i read it and haven't ever had such a pleasant surprise before a definite one to take on your holidays!

Michele

This is truly a heartfelt book. It takes alot for me to become emotionally invested in a character, yet with this novel the investment is immediate and undeniable. A sometimes haunting, and ultimately uplifiting novel that brings to the forefront a...   Read More

Amber

What can I say...the books she writes have touched my life in more ways than I could ever explain.

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