“Girl” is about a fourteen year old girl who flees the foster care system in Tennessee, and crosses the state line to North Carolina where she attends school as a boy in order to evade detection.
“Your Honor, I can live by myself. I don’t need anyone.”
“Loren Creek, you are fourteen; a precocious fourteen, but fourteen, nevertheless.” Even if I agreed that you are capable of doing so—which I do—the statutes forbid it. In the eyes of the court you are a minor, and as such, must be under adult supervision.”
“We’ve tried that twice and it didn’t work.” Loren felt Mattie’s sharp elbow in her ribs, then added, “—Your Honor.” Loren shuddered as she remembered the groping hands waking her in the dark. Hastily whispered entreaties, promises, and then threats. Only her quickness and strength saved her. The second foster placement was as bad as the first. You little slut. You tryin’ to snake-eye my man from me. I seen how he watches you. I seen the looks you give him. As soon as that “foster mother” stomped out, Loren went to her bedroom, packed her bag, and was out the window.
This book was born out of my wife’s wish to celebrate the wonderful character of a young lady whom we had befriended. I decided to write the young ladies’ character as a teenager blossoming to the world. The book was launched in that young ladies’ community. It was a satisfying experience.
Shortly after the book launching, I saw a girl seated in a corner at Starbucks with her nose buried in my book. I approached her and asked if she liked the book. She looked at me and said emphatically, “I love this book; this is the third time I’ve read it.”
“Third time? What do you love about the book?”
“The girl. I love the girl. I want to be just like her.”
I was pleased and asked, “What do you love about her?”
Then this young lady, probably a teen, melted me when she said, “She wouldn’t let them make her a victim.” I got goose bumps at that clarifying statement.
I was breathless for a moment. “Would you like for me to sign it to you?”
“You wrote this book?”
“What is your name?” I reached for my pen.
Yes, I brightened the girl’s day, but she brightened my month, and gave me a clearer understanding of what I had written. She also let me know that I had achieved my objective.