Coupon
Three Little Words : A Memoir
by Ashley Rhodes-Courter


Overview - In this unforgettable memoir, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, now a college student, recounts her years growing up in the foster care system, revealing painful memories but also her determination to discover the power of her own voice and her refusal to fall through the cracks.  Read more...

 
Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $19.99
  • $15.57
    (Save 22%)
  • 10% Off for Members Club Price
    $ 14.01

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 83 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
 
 
 
Overview
In this unforgettable memoir, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, now a college student, recounts her years growing up in the foster care system, revealing painful memories but also her determination to discover the power of her own voice and her refusal to fall through the cracks.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781416948063
  • ISBN-10: 1416948066
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books
  • Publish Date: January 2008
  • Page Count: 304
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - Social Activists
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Family - Orphans & Foster Homes

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 56.
  • Review Date: 2008-01-07
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this engrossing memoir, college senior Rhodes-Courter chronicles her hardscrabble childhood in foster care, detailing glitches in the system and infringements of laws that led to a string of unsuitable—and sometimes nightmarish—placements for her and her younger half-brother, Luke. Using a matter-of-fact tone at times laced with bitterness, the author recounts how she was wrenched away from her teenage mother at age three and was later removed from her unstable grandfather’s home to live in cramped quarters with strangers. She acknowledges that there may have been legitimate reasons for her and Luke’s placement in foster care but pointedly criticizes the manner in which she was repeatedly uprooted. She also blames the ineptitude of social workers who, more often than not, acted as advocates for foster parents rather than the children they were assigned to protect. The girl’s frequent moves and sporadic mental and physical abuse left emotional scars that affected her even after she was adopted by a loving family (the “three little words” that change her life are her guarded consent to legal adoption, “I guess so”). The author’s ability to form intelligent, open-minded conclusions about her traumatic childhood demonstrates her remarkable control and insight, and although there are plenty of wrenching moments, she succeeds not in attracting pity but in her stated intention, of drawing attention to the children who currently share the plight that she herself overcame. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Surviving the heartache of foster care

Ashley Rhodes-Courter was three years old when police came to arrest her birth mother and place Ashley and her brother Luke in foster care. Nearly nine years later, shortly before her 12th birthday, Ashley finally moved in with Gail and Phil Courter, who would become her adoptive parents. At age 21, a recent college graduate, she decided to tell her story in a memoir to ensure that the voices of children in foster care would be heard. The result, Three Little Words, is a remarkable tribute to the strength of the human spirit.

Ashley's mother, who was abandoned by her own teenage mother, was 17 when she gave birth to Ashley. During Ashley's nine years in foster care, which included 14 placements, she moved from home to home, sometimes taking all her clothing and possessions stuffed in garbage bags and sometimes having to leave everything behind. The only things that were consistent in her life for all of those years were wondering when she would move again and feeling that she was special to no one. Most of her foster homes were overcrowded; in one she was exposed to pornography; and in another she was cruelly abused, beaten, forced to spend the days outside in the hot Florida sun and squat under a counter for hours.

The turning point for Ashley was at age nine when Mary Miller was assigned as her volunteer court-appointed advocate. Mary rescued Ashley from being lost in the foster care system and promised to find her a forever family, but moving in with Gail and Phil was not simply a happy ending to her story. Ashley still feared that the Courters would send her back, leading her to test them in many ways. The couple saw things differently and only time and their unfailing commitment finally led Ashley to realize that she was home, surrounded by the love that had so long been missing from her life.

Teens can glean many lessons from Ashley's story—the risk of adolescent pregnancies, the value of family connections, the importance of telling the truth—and those who work as advocates for children and seek to understand their voices will find this memoir captivating.

Alice Pelland, an adoptive mother, guardian ad litem and foster parent, writes from Hillsborough, North Carolina.

 
BAM Customer Reviews