jennifer books & cds about jennifer studio student site contact jennifer

A Childhood Lost and Found
A New York Times bestseller

Blackbird Writing from the viewpoint of the child, rather than as an adult looking back with a mature perspective, Lauck's memoir recounts a childhood troubled by an unending string of upheavals and heartbreaks. Lauck's loving mother was chronically ill and absent for long periods of hospitalization. When she was home, she was frequently bedridden, and young Lauck, her brother and her father took turns attending to her catheter. After her mother's death, the father uprooted the family and, in an attempt to give his children a stable family, quickly remarried to an emotionally abusive woman with kids of her own. More losses followed, including the death of her father. Lauck's poignant narration matches the tone of the text: her youthful voice sounds innocent, bewildered and wounded as she tries to understand the devastations going on outside her control. At the same time, there's a core of defiance in her voice, a refusal to be beaten down by life's adversity. It's impossible not to be moved by the young girl's plight; it's equally impossible not to admire the adult's strength and courage in surviving it. (Publishers Weekly)

Blackbird: the first book on Jennifer's personal journey
Original publication date in hardcover: October, 2000
Currently available in paperback from Amazon

For autographed copies, order here through PayPal


The Times (London)
"[Jennifer] has constructed a riveting narrative from the awful mess of her life. That she has managed to do so fills me with an admiration for which I cannot find words. The best I can do is to suggest that you read this book..."
Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis
"The unblinking look of one child at a hard world. Written gloriously and movingly."
Talk Magazine
"Jenny, experiencing the death of her parents ... was forced into a religious cult and abused, all before junior high school, where this Dickensian orphan's memoir ends. Hang on to that cliff: Lauck's finishing a sequel that's likely to be just as remarkable."
"If this were fiction, readers would find its chain of tragedies and surreal cruelties impossibly melodramatic but this riveting tale of a young girl so burdened with family trauma that she thinks, 'I know nothing about being a kid,' is a true story...and, indeed, she had to grapple with more of life's miseries before puberty that most people face in a lifetime, a brutal coming of age she documents with remarkable lucidity and forgiveness." —Donna Seaman
"Even as a child, Jennifer Lauck knew her life was unusually complicated, which is perhaps why she has chosen to narrate her memoir, Blackbird, A Childhood Lost and Found, from the perspective of the precocious child she was. It's a choice that allows her recounting of grim, life-shattering events a stern ingeniousness that...the result is a novelistic vision of a life with both hope and heartache to spare." —Melanie Renak
Book Sense, 76 Award
"There are no words to describe all of my feelings about this very special book. It is poignant, beautifully crafted— a tribute to a gifted writer and the author's incredible spirit. I was struck by the fact that there was so little laughter in her life, yet she clung to the words of her mother and father who continued to give her strength." —Patsy Madden, Bennett Books, Wyckoff, NJ
Newsweek, Fall Arts Preview
"Jennifer Lauck has been to hell and back. The Portland, Ore., author, a former TV journalist, is now the happily married mother of a 3-year-old son. But her memoir, Blackbird, tells of the death of her adored mother when she was 7, and of an unraveling childhood that at one point left her abandoned in a Los Angeles slum. "I had lived my life pretty much pushing these memories away," says Lauck, 36. Then she started to search for the facts of her early life—and to mine her own painful memories. The result is a standout debut in the crowded memoir genre."
Kirkus Reviews
"A searing, soaring memoir of one girl's complicated and almost unbelievable childhood...Lauck's literary achievements—voice, characterization, pacing—are as extraordinary as those of Frank McCourt and Dave Eggers, if not more so. A lost childhood reclaimed in profound triumph, and with the promise of a sequel to match."
Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters and Mother of My Mother
"This is one of those rare books that captures both the innocence of the child narrator and the wisdom of the adult author. Beautifully written, utterly convincing, alternately heartbreaking and inspiring, Blackbird is both a tribute to the author's mother and to her own powers of survival. I was so caught up in Jennifer Lauck's story I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, yet I didn't want it to end."
Gregg Kleiner, author of Where River Turns to Sky
"Blackbird is Lauck's stunning testament to the inborn ability children have to survive. By the book's bittersweet final pages, you're on your feet cheering for her."
Marion Winik, author of First Comes Love and Telling
"Jennifer Lauck shares a different order of memory, expressed with heartrending immediacy and transparency."
Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon
"Lauck is ruthless in her investigation of a broken heart."
Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Arabian Jazz
"Direct, evocative, and emotionally honest, Blackbird will haunt readers with its startling story and its vibrant narration."


  Transformative Writing
email Jennifer Lauck