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Kaye Gibbons Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Ellen Foster (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Virtuous Woman (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Cure for Dreams (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Charms for the Easy Life (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sights Unseen (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Divining Women (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lunatics Ball (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

How I became a writer (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Frost and Flower (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Eudora Welty: Writers' Reflections Upon First Reading Welty(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Essays of the Century(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kaye Gibbons is a renowned writer from the United States, who is famous for writing literature & fiction, historical fiction, contemporary, young adult, southern, and coming of age novels. She has written several standalone books in her career, most of which are widely famous for their unique contents. Author Gibbons is particularly very famous for her first book, Ellen Foster, which was released in 1987. This book helped Gibbons establish herself as a noteworthy writer as it went on to win the Sue Kaufman Award in the category of the Best First Fiction novel from the Institute and Academy of Arts & Letters of America. Gibbons also became very famous for her debut novel as the foundation of Ernest Hemingway gave it a Special Citation. The novel also won the Louis Rubin Jr Prize from the Northern Carolina University at the Chapel Hill in Creative Writing. Today, author Gibbons is a proud and active member of the Southern Writers Fellowship. A couple of her books, Virtuous Woman and Ellen Foster, were chosen for the Book Club of Oprah in 1998. Author Gibbons was born on May 05, 1960 in Nash County, North Carolina. She completed her schooling from the Rocky Mount High School and then enrolled herself at the University of North Carolina State for a bachelor’s degree. She also joined the North Carolina University at Chapel Hill for studying English and American literature.

Gibbons is happily married and is blessed with three daughters. She suffers from the health condition of bipolar disorder. This condition causes a lot of health issues to her both mentally and physically, but Gibbons claims she becomes highly creative during the maniac phases. She is of the belief that whenever she reaches maniac phase, everything starts happening under the effect of some ‘real’ magic and it helps her come up with excitingly creative works. Gibbons claims she wrote Ellen Foster at the time of one such maniac phase. Author Gibbons taken into police custody in 2008 on the charges of the fraud of prescription drugs. The authorities claimed that she was arrested while picking up one of the fraudulent prescriptions of hydrocodone painkiller. Gibbons was charged with a fine of $300, 2 years in probation, and a 90 day sentence of suspension. In Ellen Foster, author has described the story of a young American girl of the white race, who lives under very unfavorable conditions in rural South. The story is narrated in first person and the writing is done in the form of standard English.

The novel’s language is such that it is meant to render the vocabulary of a 9-to-11 year old girl, who remains relatively uneducated in spite of being ambitious and clever. Most of the plot’s setting is done during the late 1970s. Author Gibbons has intertwined 2 time levels throughout the story. One presents the life of Ellen Foster from her current viewpoint while living with ‘new mama’ and the second shows Ellen Foster’s story from the death of her mother up to her present. Both the time levels get united during the novel’s climax, when Ellen is seen as a 12 year old girl. Author Gibbons continued Ellen’s story in a sequel novel that came out in 2006. After the book’s grand success it was adapted into a television film in 1997. It was broadcast on CBS and is now available on DVD. William Hanley and Maria Nation had written the screenplay and John Erman was the film’s director. It’s filming was carried out in Vancouver, Canada; and was rated as a PG-13 movie for the contents of a child’s abusive treatment.

The debut book written by author Kaye Gibbons in her literary career entitled ‘Ellen Foster’. It was released by the Vintage Books publication in the year 1990, after its first publishing in 1987. The book features the lead characters in the form of Lenora Nelson, Ellen Foster, Charlotte Nelson Hammond, Dora, Starletta Douglas, Bill Hammond, Abigail, Aunt Nadine, Julia Hobbs, Roy Hobbs, Aunt Betsy, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, etc. At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Ellen Foster is the only child of her parents. Her mother and father are alive, but she doesn’t have a home of her own. Ellen’s father has drinking problems and this often leads to domestic violence. Ellen Foster’s mother suffers from a heart ailment. As the story begins, Ellen’s mother is shown being in hospital. At a very early age, Ellen begins to think of ways to get rid of her drunk father. She even thinks of killing him and plans different ways of doing it. After her mother’s release from hospital, her father starts treating badly with her again. This is when Ellen Foster takes it upon herself to keep her mother safe and mother. But, fate had other plans. Ellen’s mother consumes extra pills and commits suicide.

Following her mother’s death, eleven year old Ellen starts looking after the meager finances of her household. She starts saving money with the realization that she will be needing it in future for giving herself a better life. Even though Ellen Foster goes through an unhappy childhood, she is smart and clever. She starts visiting libraries and borrowing books in her spare times with the intention of improving her creative skills. Ellen is best friends with Starletta, a black girl with kind parents. Ellen is attracted towards Starletta’s family, but maintains a distance from them because of the negative thoughts about the black people inculcated into her throughout her life. The story proceeds further depicting different types of difficulties in Ellen’s life, which overcomes with her determination and hope of a better life. The major themes included in this book by Gibbons include self-consciousness, ignorance, determination, awareness, self-criticism, racial identities, movement, materialism, etc.

Another very exciting book penned by author Gibbons is called ‘A Virtuous Woman’. It was also published by the Vintage publishers in 1997, following its first release in 1989. The primary characters of the novel include Jack Stokes, Ruby Pitt Woodrow, and several others. This beautifully written book follows the quiet love story of the two lead characters. At the beginning of the story of the book, Ruby Woodrow is introduced as a wealthy farmer’s daughter, while Jack Stokes is shown as a tenant farmer. Initially, Jack and Ruby look like an odd match as Ruby is 20 years old and Jack is 40. Ruby Woodrow has already become a widow, while the unsuccessful and unattractive Jack Stokes never got married. Both Ruby and Jack have experienced tough lives. Ruby’s parents alienate her because of her disastrous brief marriage. She thinks of giving a new start to her life by taking the job of a maid. Jack, dreaming to become the owner of a small land piece, meets Ruby and gets the feeling of completeness with her. Each of them gathers strength to ask the other to become partners for life and then go on to lead a simple and peaceful life. This simple and quiet book provides little action, but an overall interesting story of 2 ill matched people, who manage to make a successful marriage.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kaye Gibbons

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