Life for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair

Susan Sheehan, Author Pantheon Books $21 (174p) ISBN 978-0-679-41472-8
Reprinted from the New Yorker , this searching and graceful book limns a black family's entrenchment in the New York City foster-care system, a system which, says Sheehan, costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year. In 1984, 14-year-old Crystal Taylor and her newborn, Daquan Jr., were placed in foster care because Crystal's mother, Florence, was an itinerant drug addict. Sheehan (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me? ) tracks Crystal and Daquan Jr.'s odyssey through foster care and details Crystal's family history. A drug and alcohol abuser since grade school, Crystal witnessed her father's near-death from heroin, was sodomized by an uncle at the age of four, was sexually abused by others and was regularly beaten by Florence, herself an abused child and a product of the foster-care system who eventually placed five other children in foster care as well. Daquan Jr. was fostered by a black middle-class family while Crystal chose to live in a group home where she readily made friends but where she flunked her school courses, was arrested for possession of drugs and for shoplifting, and dated drug dealers, two of whom were murdered. In 1992, Crystal, a mail clerk at an advertising agency, finally accepted responsibility for her son and brought him to live with her in the Brooklyn apartment that she rents. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7857-6972-9
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-679-75450-3
Open Ebook - 92 pages - 978-0-8041-5109-2
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