Kirkus Reviews QR Code
JOSEPH by Shelia P. Moses


by Shelia P. Moses

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1752-6
Publisher: McElderry

It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible, indifferent, negligent mother than the one 15-year-old Joseph Flood has endured. A crack addict and alcoholic, Joseph’s mother spends every penny on her habits, which leaves them in a homeless shelter. His father’s attempt to gain custody has been interrupted by his deployment to Iraq. His Aunt Shirley repeatedly pleads with Joseph to leave his mother and live with her family, but, despite all the embarrassment and heartbreak she has brought him, Joseph cannot bear to leave her alone. When Joseph is mistakenly arrested, however, Aunt Shirley takes him in. Told in Joseph’s candid, present-tense voice, the tale makes plain the tangle of emotions that ties children to even the most incapable parent. Old beyond his years, he observes with a clear-eyed understanding the forces swirling around his fractured family. Moses’s heart-wrenching story of a young man’s struggle to cut ties with his mother and a dead-end life will leave readers profoundly moved. (Fiction. 12-16)