Nubian Circle Book Club

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Somebody's Someone Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Somebody's Someone is a heart wrenching autobiography that details Regina Louis's childhood trials and tribulations as she grows up in various foster homes and in California's child care system. 

Written in the broken dialect of an illiterate teenager, she takes us back to her earliest memories in the foster care of Johnnie Jean Thornhill (Big Mama), where she and her older sister reside along with, Lula, Big Mama's oldest natural-born daughter. The children are woefully impoverished as Regina never remembers having new clothes that were not hand-me-downs.  She learns to care for herself early and avoid confrontation with any of the older family members for fear of being beaten. Nary a kind word is exchanged among the many house members and beatings are prevalent. The inevitable happens and she is beaten severely, leaves Big Mama's for her paternal grandmother's home where her stay there is short lived. She eventually is sent to live with her mother who lacks any maternal skills and the desire to care for her children. Regina becomes too much of a bother for her mother, she is sent to California to live with her father. Again, both of her parents fail her and she ends up as a ward of the state, abandoned by her family.

The most painful part is to read how Regina really tries to be a good child so that she can be loved and accepted by her guardians. She longs to be reunited with her mother and parents in a Brady Bunch" kind of way. And despite all the abuse and neglect, her love for her mother never falters despite the many no-shows and lies told to her by her mother. Regina grows more resentful, unruly, and hardened as the disappointments increase. She is finally befriended by a white counselor who literally saves her life and begins to blossom after years of struggling against the system.

This was a wonderful story, but difficult to read at times as it was extremely painful. However the author should be commended on her courage to share her story. It was a testament of her resilience and perseverance as I was pulling for her success on every page.

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Somebody's Someone is 4 out of 5 stars.