My mother, my wife, my sister, and Oprah recommended Ellen Foster to me. Ellen Foster is a very young, very mistreated Southern girl who tells her story in simple, compelling language. She takes us energetically into her world and lets us see adult behavior through her worldly but never cynical eyes. Her saga is funny, clever, and heart-rending. But most of all, it is a true human experience.
I read Ellen Foster in between reading Isaac and His Devils and Spidertown. Taken together, the three novels remind me of the breadth of human experience and of how little I know about the people I meet each day. I lose my temper with salespeople, support personnel, and managers when I assume their entire lives consist of safe interactions with people like me. Compassion comes easier when I stop to consider what heroic dramas many people have survived. I seldom have any idea of the abuse, failure, and hatred the person in front of me has had to endure to get themselves here. An occasional journey in strange shoes helps me to be more appreciative of everyone’s personal triumphs. [See also on this blog: Be Kind]
See also on this blog, Be Kind.