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Like Family

Like Family Cover

Like Family

Growing Up in Other People's Houses

By Paula McLain

Back Bay Books, Paperback, 9780316909099, 260pp.

Publication Date: September 21, 2007


In the tradition of Jo Ann Beard's Boys of My Youth, and Mary Karr'sThe Liar's Club, Paula McLain has written a powerful and haunting memoir about the years she and her two sisters spent as foster children. In the early 70s, after being abandoned by both parents, the girls were made wards of the Fresno County, California court and spent the next 14 years-in a series of adoptive homes. The dislocations, confusions, and odd pleasures of an unrooted life form the basis of a captivating memoir. McLain's beautiful writing and limber voice capture the intense loneliness, sadness, and determination of a young girl both on her own and responsible, with her siblings, for staying together as a family.

About the Author
After leaving California in 1987, Paula McLain spent the next decade in personal and professional vagabondage. She has worked in auto plants and hospitals and has been a cocktail waitress, a Christmas tree salesperson, a pizza maker, and an English teacher. In 1996, she received her MFA from the University of Michigan. Since then she has been in residence at Bread Loaf, Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. At work on a novel, she lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Praise For Like Family

"What makes LIKE FAMILY so remarkable are not the peculiar circumstances of Paula McLain's childhood but the depth of understanding that she brings to those circumstances, and the beautiful prose in which she renders that understanding. Seldom have I seen so vividly evoked the need to belong to some, any, kind of family and the painful negotiations that time brings to even our closest intimacies."
-Library Journal

"Ms. McLain's close observation of the sisters' perils jumps with life and wry merriment. They take their pleasures and their sorrows as they arrive; even their times of desolation are narrated in language that conveys a kind of ragged glory-the tattered flag of their kinship still waves!"