cover image Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found

Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found

Jennifer Lauck. Simon & Schuster Audio, $26 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7435-1811-6

Writing from the viewpoint of the child, rather than as an adult looking back with a mature perspective, Lauck's memoir recounts a childhood troubled by an unending string of upheavals and heartbreaks. Lauck's loving mother was chronically ill and absent for long periods of hospitalization. When she was home, she was frequently bedridden, and young Lauck, her brother and her father took turns attending to her catheter. After her mother's death, the father uprooted the family and, in an attempt to give his children a stable family, quickly remarried to an emotionally abusive woman with kids of her own. More losses followed, including the death of her father. Lauck's poignant narration matches the tone of the text: her youthful voice sounds innocent, bewildered and wounded as she tries to understand the devastations going on outside her control. At the same time, there's a core of defiance in her voice, a refusal to be beaten down by life's adversity. 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. Based on the Pocket hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 25). (Sept.)