Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca
The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother. With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it's with baby "Georgia" in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie. As Becky's life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she's never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it's a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay--and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? With a greatness of heart and a stubborn insistence on hope found in few novels of any genre, "Providence" proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word.
Publishes in US: March 18th 2014 by Merit Press
Genre: YA contemp
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I wanted to read Providence because I like the premise of her finding the baby, needing to escape home, and finding acceptance and love in the small town where she gets off the train. I have read another book similar to it, except the girl took her little sister because her mom was on drugs I think.
I liked the story well enough, it for me just pushes the boundary of realism. I am sure that something like this could happen, but I guess I have a hard time believing that she could make it with a little girl on her own knowing no one, and that her parents wouldn't come looking for her. I understand that they were a farm family and her dad had a temper, but with the mom and 9 other siblings, and her leaving without notice and not being of age, it just breaks my heart that they wouldn't look for her or care that she is gone.
The small town feeling was amazing in this one. She happens upon the nicest lady, Rosie who gives her a job and eventually takes her and baby girl Georgia into her home. But some of the other town members, reasonably, ask questions, and it makes Becky uncomfortable to lie, but some she can't escape. The way they described the main street and everyone up in other's business really gave it an authentic ring to it and almost made me think this was a historical fiction, but there is still mentions of texting and other such modern conveniences, so that threw that idea.
The bond between Rosie and Becky I think is what made me keep reading this book. Oh and the mentions of John and hints at romance that unfortunately didn't come to fruititon like I would have hoped. But that is another thing, that romance and any thoughts of that were squashed by Becky and she was being responsible in the ways that counted for baby Georgia even if there were many things she was doing wrong. Rosie is so sweet and unasuming but she also pushes Becky to be the best she can be.
I didn't feel like Becky had enough personality though, she was kind of just there and leading the story, I didn't get a whole lot of feeling for who she was besides the generic daughter, sister, and caregiver of Georgia. I did like that she was selfless towards Georgia and Rosie, putting their needs first and that she was a hard worker. The most I got from her really was that she liked to read, and when she was decorating the store or making things I almost got that breakthrough of what she loved and who she could become. Though I suppose to be fair, by the ending where she had Rosie vested in her as well as another townsperson the mysterious Lily on her side, she began to think some of the what-ifs, and how could it work.
The ending worked for this one, but I guess I just wanted more information about Becky's choices and how it works out. And more of John...
My question to you, my lovely readers:
What would you do if you found an abandoned baby while sneaking on board a train?