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Publisher's Summary

A fierce and heartbreaking debut from FOLD founder Jael Richardson about a young woman with the courage to determine her own future

Imagine a world in which the hopeless and vulnerable are forced to buy their freedom by working off their debt to society. Imagine a world divided into the privileged Mainland and the policed Gutter. In that world lives Elimina Dubois, one of only 100 children selected as a social experiment by the Mainland government to be taken from their mothers in the Gutter and raised in the land of opportunity. 

But when her Mainland mother dies when Elimina is just a teenager, Elimina finds herself all alone, forced into an unfamiliar life of servitude, unsure of who she is and where she belongs. When she makes friends with Gutter children, each making their own way through the crushing cycle of the Gutter System in whatever ways they know how, Elimina will discover that the thing she needs more than anything may not be the freedom she imagined after all.  

Gutter Child takes us on the journey of a young woman in a fractured world of heartbreaking disadvantages and horrific injustices. Richardson’s Elimina is a modern heroine in an altered but all too recognizable reality, who, must find the strength within herself to determine her own future and defy a system that tries to shape her destiny.

Jael Richardson is the Artistic Director of The FOLD literary festival, the books columnist on CBC Radio’s ‘q’ and an outspoken advocate on issues of diversity. She is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The book received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist. A children’s book called The Stone Thrower was published by Groundwood Books in 2016. Her essay “Conception” is part of Room’s first Women of Colour edition, and excerpts from her first play, my upside down black face, are published in the anthology T-Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers. Richardson has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, and she lives in Brampton, Ontario.

©2021 Jael Richardson (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about Gutter Child

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  • Overall
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Tender, gut-wrenching, hopeful

Loved this gut wrenching depiction of an eerily familiar dystopian world. There is tenderness, courage, friendship, and page-turning action. I could not stop listening!

3 people found this helpful

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Yawn worthy

This book is extremely boring and not worth the time it's taking to write this.

3 people found this helpful

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It Could Have Been Good

I liked the idea of the story and where it was going, it just didn’t have enough to keep me going. After a month trying and only getting through about 7 hours I am finally calling it a day.

2 people found this helpful

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Gutter Child review

A hauntingly beautiful story of colonialism and its destruction. Well written and well performed. Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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Ending not good

The ending leaves you completely hanging. So many unanswered questions. Good story and message . I enjoyed the book

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Depressing

The book is woefully depressing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — there are other books that deal with sombre themes and narratives (e.g., the bluest eye) that i enjoyed. But I found every character apart from Josephine and maybe Rowan to be exceedingly dull. I found this a real slog to get through.

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Well done Jael Richardson

I appreciated the depth of narrative and the amount of characters we got to meet. Thank you for challenging me to think about the parallels between L's world and our world.

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Powerful

Beautifully written, well performed, engaging narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this heart wrenching yet hopeful story.

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Depressing

This book is much like some of Margaret Atwood’s depressing predictions of humanity. Certainly does not inspire hope.

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Monotone and emotionless

The narrator had no inflection or emotion. I didn't find the characters interesting at all and I couldn't get attached to them. May have been the narrators fault.