Ellen, who is a young girl, lived with her sick mother and her alcoholic father. Her father was
very abusive, both mentally, physically and sexually. He was not the father that most read about in
story books. Her mother was sick with heart problems and was not very functional. Ellen was
convinced her dad would kill her and her mother. Ellen's mother took a bunch of pills and Ellen
tried to get her to vomit them up. Her father, who is not concerned at all, tells Ellen to let her be,
she would sleep it off. Ellen wanted to call for help but her father threatens to kill her if she does.
So Ellen sat with her mother until she passed. Ellen dealt with her hardships better than most
young girls. She became a heroine and became great at survival. She overcame great obstacles and
fights, against all odds, her way to happiness. The book is a work of fiction that mirrors Gibbons
own life. The story is narrated by Ellen herself. It is unusual for the subject of a story to also narrate.
Ellen uses different verb tenses, going back and forth from past to present.
Gibbons stressed that Ellen was afraid of her mother dying when Ellen would lie next to her
mom in bed and check to see if she was breathing. This showed that Ellen's fear of losing her
mother was intense. Gibbons repeats Ellen's fears that her dad would kill her several times in the
beginning as if to tell what happened next. This is how Gibbons built the beginning of the story up,
letting the reader know to expect something. In the novel, Ellen's mother was sick with heart
problems. Maybe Ellen's mother wanted to die because her husband's character was so mean.
When Ellen sat with her mother until she passed, this was terrible for a child; call for help so your
mom can live and Ellen die or let her mom die so Ellen can live. Gibbons demonstrates Ellen's
survival skills; she had to let her mother lie and die so Ellen could live on. Someone who is faced
with this choice may find themselves making a similar choice. “Ellen is a child seeking not so
much to thrive but to survive”(Wood 2).
Ellen suffered a lot of loss, with her mom overdosing, dad drinking himself to death and
grandmother dieing. This could have also been a metaphor for all the loss in Ellen's life
emotionally, physically and materialistically. She had thoughts of her dad murdering her and her
mother. She was consumed with death. Ellen confessed at the beginning of the book she had
thought of ways to kill her dad. Her life had to be so bad that she had homicidal thoughts. She had
went as far as planning the way it would be done. She never follows through, but thinking it out is
the closest thing to acting it out. She had to feel like she had no other option at one time. Someone
does not have these kind of thoughts unless they are backed into a corner and...