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Title: Almost Home by Joan Bauer
Sugar Mae Cole and her mother find themselves evicted from their home when their money is gambled away by Sugar’s father, Mr. Leeland. Mother and daughter have to negotiate their way through the new and frightening experience of being homeless. When things take a turn for the worse, Reba falls apart and Sugar wonders if they will ever be a normal family again.
My son and I read this book for homeschool, and we both thought it was an amazing story! We had left off reading it shortly before we moved out of our old house, and then picked it up again later when we were technically homeless and staying at my parents’ house. It was so refreshing and cathartic to read this book while we were going through that process and I honestly think it helped my son to better deal with our situation.
The book is well written and the characters are very nicely developed. Sugar is just about the sweetest young lady you’ll ever meet in a book, and her tenacity and will to overcome are admirable. Though she and her mom are in a very dire situation, Sugar tries to look at the positive and keep her mom’s spirits up. I don’t want to tell you everything that happens with Reba, but suffice it to say that she doesn’t deal with the situation quite as well as Sugar does. Sugar’s coping mechanisms are her poetry and her lovable dog, Shush, who has a knack for encouraging those who need it most.
If you are ever in contact with a child who has experienced homelessness or been in the foster care system, I would highly recommend Almost Home to them. Do them a favor and give them a copy of this book. It’s a charming, yet honest look at how a child is affected by homelessness and foster care, but it still gives the reader hope and reminds them that there is still the possibility for bright things in their future. I highly recommend it to everyone else, as well!
A favorite quote:
“Before all this happened
I wasn’t brave like I am now.
I didn’t know I could take care of my mother
Or pee by the side of the road
and not get my underpants wet.
I didn’t know that there’s family that will help you
And family that won’t.
I didn’t know,
But I know now.
Before all this happened
I had a room that didn’t change.
I had a grandpa who was alive.
I had keys on a chain.
I had cookies cooling on a counter.
I had a porch and neighbors and a butterfly named Fanny
Who would fly away and come back to visit.
I had my place in the world.
That was before.
Before is no more.” (p. 91)
Rating: 5 Stars
Until next time…