When I was a little kid, I taught myself to read by listening to Harry Potter audiobooks all the time. I restarted about twice a week. And I only had two of the books on audio. It was an okay system for first and half of second grade, but eventually I had the books memorized and I knew how to read.
But there’s a hole in your day when you stop listening to audiobooks. So I turned to the trusty shelf I knew held all kinds of things I didn’t know about and dug up the audiobook of What I Call Life by Jill Wolfson. It’s an absolutely stunning book about life in the foster care system, and just generally life itself.
Cal (Carolina Agnes London Indiana Florence Ohio Renee Naomi Ida Alabama) Lavender lives an okay life. Sure, sometimes she can’t get herself to school or has to make dinner instead of finish her homework, but she and her mother Betty do all right. But when Betty has one of her ‘unfortunate episodes’ in a public library, Cal’s life is turned upside down. She is whisked away by Officer Quiggly-Wiggly, who takes her to a bright orange house filled with strange girls and a woman called “the Knitting Lady.” She finds herself in a foreign world where someone else takes care of her and people help each other, but she’s not so sure that she likes it. And one of her new maybe-friends, Whitney, seems to have an agenda.
As the Knitting Lady tells the girls an epic story and Cal begins to understand how to knit, things are getting better, just in time for them to turn around again.
I loved this book, especially the audiobook. It’s a Full Cast Audio book, so there’s a different voice for every character, and they all fit really well. Also, it’s one of those books that is actually worth shelling out the $37 to get it on audio – it’s not one of those books that you only listen to once and then just leave collecting dust or holding up a table leg. I lost count of how many times I’ve listened to it, and I’m the kind of person that keeps track up to approximately a million times.