Caela Carter’s Forever, Or A Long, Long Time is one of those books which stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page and returned it to the library – the characters are memorable, the story is captivating, and the writing just achingly beautiful.
Flora and her brother Julian have spent their young lives moving from one dysfunctional foster home to the next. A forever home finally becomes theirs, but Flora is convinced that this good fortune will not be theirs for long:
I have to be a good girl. I have to try to pass fourth grade. I have to make Person happy.
Person is my mom now. My very own human mother. I call her my mom when I’m talking to her or anyone else, but in my head I call her my person because there have been too too many mommies and they have faces that blend together in my brain until they’re one ugly face that doesn’t make sense and some of them were nice but others weren’t very nice and they’re all gone now anyway and Person says she’s here forever.
She’s not. Nothing is forever…
The world is often a confusing place for Flora, and her words often get jumbled up and stuck when she tries to explain what she feels and thinks. She wants to believe that Person and home are forever, but when she learns that Person is going to have a baby, all her fears and uncertainties return. Will there be room enough in Person’s heart to still love Flora? After all:
It’s so hard to believe in Forever when it only counts for some people and not all of them.
Caela Carter writes movingly about the damage the foster system does to children, and the endless hope children have that a forever family somehow still exists for them. I loved Forever, Or A Long, Long Time so much, and know that my students will, too.