All We Had

All We Had

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"For thirteen-year-old Ruthie Carmichael and her mother, Rita, life has never been stable. The only sure thing is their love for each other. Though Rita works more than one job, the pair teeters on the edge of poverty. When their landlord kicks them out, Rita resorts to her movie-star looks and produces carpet-installer Phil, "an instant boyfriend," who takes them in. Before long, Ruthie convinces her mother to leave and in their battered Ford Escort, they head East in search of a better life. When money runs out and their car breaks down, they find themselves stranded in a small town called Fat River where their luck finally takes a turn. Rita lands a steady job waitressing at Tiny's, the local diner. With enough money to pay their bills, they rent a house and Fat River becomes the first place they call home. Peter Pam, Tiny's transgender waitress and the novel's voice of warmth and reason, becomes Ruthie's closest friend. Arlene, the no-nonsense head waitress, takes Rita under her wing. The townspeople--Hank and Dotty Hanson, the elderly owners of the embattled local hardware store, and even their chatter-mouth neighbor Patti--become Ruthie and Rita's family. Into this quirky utopia comes smooth-talking mortgage broker Vick Ward, who entices Rita with a subprime loan. Why rent when you can own? Almost as soon as Rita buys a house their fortunes change. Faced once again with the prospect of homelessness, Rita reverts to survival mode, and the price she pays to keep them out of poverty changes their lives forever" -- from publisher's web site.
"[A] portrait of a gritty mother and daughter, living on the edge of poverty, who find an unlikely home amid the quirky residents of small town America" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781476755205
1476755205
Branch Call Number: WEATHERWAX
Characteristics: 259 pages ; 23 cm

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shapjul
Aug 10, 2014

This is an excellent book. Narrator is a teenage girl and the focus of the book is her relationship with her mother. They are poor and struggling in the 2000s. Runs through the financial crises. The voice of the narrator is great and the characters sharply defined. There's something about the voice that let's you know (I think) that the narrator will make it, but there are scenes both harrowing and funny along the way. I think an older teen might like it as well as grownups.

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