And every week, there was the unspoken question, the one I didn’t know enough to ask myself : Have you found her yet? The one who reminds you of you?
Twenty years after she lived at a homeless shelter for teens, Janice Erlbaum went back to volunteer. Now thirty-four years old and a successful writer, she’d changed her life for the better; now she wanted to help someone else–someone like the girl she’d once been.
Then she met Sam. A brilliant nineteen-year-old junkie savant, the product of a horrifically abusive home, Sam had been surviving alone on the streets since she was twelve and was now struggling for sobriety against the adverse health effects of long-term drug abuse.
Soon Janice found herself caring deeply for Sam, following her through detoxes and psych wards, halfway houses and hospitals, becoming ever more manically driven to save her from the sickness and sadness leftover from Sam’s terrible past. But just as Janice was on the verge of becoming the girl’s legal guardian, she made a shocking discovery: Sam was sicker than anyone knew, in ways nobody could have imagined.
Written with startling candor and immediacy, Have You Found Her is the story of one woman’s quest to save a girl’s life–and the hard truths she learns about herself along the way.
“A rich and compelling account . . . Ultimately this is a book about the narrator’s journey and the dangers that attend the urge within us all to believe we can save another soul. A terrific read.”
–Cammie McGovern, author of Eye Contact
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Mystery & Detective eBook: Have You Found Her|
|Release Date: 02-12-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Have You Found Her|
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Have You Found Her
How I Became the Bead Lady
It’s a Wednesday evening in late May, and
I’m at the shelter for my weekly workshop, which is officially listed on
the calendar as “Jewelry Making with Janice.” This has been my
shtick for the past two and a half years—every Wednesday evening, I
come uptown to the shelter, and I sit around for a few hours with the
girls of the Older Females Unit making beaded bracelets and necklaces
and earrings. I am known, colloquially, as “Bead Lady,” as in,
“Bead Lady, you got more alphabet beads this week? ’Cause last
week you was runnin’ outa vowels.”
All of the volunteers here have a shtick. Some teach ballet, some
lead prayer circles; theater groups come in to do presentations about
conflict resolution. Out-of-town church choirs give concerts. The Junior
League, a group of young professional women committed to volunteerism,
sends representatives once a week to lead workshops
about things like prenatal health and budgeting. One guy comes in
and supervises pickup basketball games in the gym. There’s a guy
named Carl who’s been volunteering on the Older Females Unit for
the past fifteen years—a white guy, mousy, quiet, and kind. I have no
idea what his shtick is, but the girls seem to like him.
They don’t like everybody. I guess when I started, I thought the
girls would be so grateful for any kind of sympathy or attention that
they’d fall all over the volunteers, but I’ve seen them turn their backs
on a lot of people, watched them size up a bunch of white women in