The Road to Paris
Eight-year-old Paris Richmond barely remembers the white father who gave her blond hair; he left when she was four. The story goes that he hated owning up to a child with dark skin. Paris's 10-year-old brother, Malcolm, hadn't fared much better. His dad left when Malcolm was just a baby. But being fatherless didn't mean that they ever accepted their mother's latest husband as any kind of substitute, so when he walks out, Paris and Malcolm are actually glad. Their mom on the other hand slips into depression and turns to alcohol for comfort. Things get so bad that she often abandons them to spend hours at the bar. That's when Child Services steps in, and Paris and Malcolm are shipped out to a foster home.
But life is hardly pleasant at the Boone house, and Paris knows it will never be home. After getting locked in the closet for days on end, punished for crimes the Boone daughter did and then beaten black and blue, Malcolm and Paris know they have to get out of there. They run to the only family they have left --- their grandmother.
Unfortunately, their grandmother is hardly glad to see them. According to her, she's raised her kids and now she's done. She contacts Child Services and new foster homes are considered --- but this time they separate Paris and Malcolm.
Malcolm is Paris's strength, hope, protection and only source of love, and it tears her to pieces when they send him to a boys' home. Paris ends up in the suburbs, with a family by the name of Lincoln. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln have two boys of their own, plus a teenage girl fostering with them. She enters the old but comfortable house with trepidation, holding no hope for her present or her future. But within a few weeks, she knows she's not with people like her mom or the Boones. She has her own small but cozy bedroom, and no one beats her or locks her in the closet. The Lincolns never coddle her, yet they make her feel welcome, accepted and safe with their acts of kindness. And when she goes to their church for the first time, she discovers amazing joy in the music and happily joins the choir. Paris even uncovers faith in God that helps her through the anger she feels for her mom.
Even though she constantly misses her brother, Paris begins to feel that she can call this place a home. She even makes a friend at school. But then she gets a phone call from her mom, who wants her back.
Nikki Grimes is an award-winning author, and her talent shows in this newest story. Her life-like characters speak from the heart, and her expressive and colorful descriptions are perfectly presented through the eyes of an eight year old. The storyline moves smoothly and engagingly. Grimes is sure to see more writing awards in her future.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 5, 2006
The Road to Paris
- Publication Date: October 5, 2006
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
- ISBN-10: 0399245375
- ISBN-13: 9780399245374