Book Review: Who Would Have Thunk It
by George C. Fraser and Emma Fraser-Pendleton, Illustrated by Jerry Craft
Publication Date: Jun 28, 2012
List Price: $12.99 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 96
Imprint: Frasernet Publishing Group
Publisher: Frasernet Publishing Group
Parent Company: Frasernet Publishing Group
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
“Our story began a very long time ago when we were little kids with no place to live. Our mother got sick and our father had to give us up, so we were put into a shelter—and then foster homes. We were in foster homes for 13 years! It was very hard, but we made it…
Some people think foster families are these amazing folks who just want to help needy children… But those weren’t the ones we ever got… It made us wonder why people who didn’t even like kids took us in.
It wasn’t until later that we realized it was about money. You see, the city gave families a monthly check for every child they took in…
The lessons we learned from our time as foster kids have helped us to grow up and be good human beings, and that is why we can now share our story. There are simple lessons, and we have tired to live our lives based on them: Never lose hope… Rejection prepares you for perfection… Never lose your faith…
It worked for us.”
—Excerpted from the Foreword (pgs. 4-5)
George and Emma Fraser and were born to a woman who gave birth to 11 children before succumbing to a mental illness that would leave her institutionalized for the last 37 years of her life. A half-dozen of the kids had the same father, a man who was so overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a single-dad that he turned his offspring to the foster care system.
At least Mr. Fraser insisted that George, Emma and their youngest sibling, Joe, never be separated but instead always be placed with the same family. Unfortunately, most of the foster parents the trio had to endure turned out to be sadistic scoundrels who were only in it for the payments they got from the state as opposed to having an altruistic concern for the welfare of vulnerable orphans.
Joe passed on at an early age, but George and Emma went on to overcome a traumatic childhood marked by torture, teasing, instability and an absence of love, eventually earning college degrees and enjoying impressive professional careers. Who Would Have Thunk It, a “factional” account of “how we wished it could have been,” is a heartbreaking semi-autobiographical memoir co-written by George and Emma.
Illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Jerry Craft, this mix of real life and make believe was cleverly crafted as a combination cautionary fable for adults and message of hope for children who might currently find themselves stuck in a similar predicament. A frightening, foster care nightmare with a fortuitous fairytale ending. Who would have thunk it?