Ruby on the Outside
"Do they put people in prison so they don't hurt other people?
Or do they put people in prison to punish them?
Or do they put people in prison so they have time to figure out
what they did wrong so they can change? And if that's the case, how
does it help to take a mother away from her child?A child away from
There were three years when I was a live in mother's helper.
The paterfamilias was doing time for unauthorized use of his police
service revolver. The mother had her children convinced that their
dad was sick and in a hospital. These days, with the Internet making
privacy of any sort just about a thing of the past, I doubt she would
have been able to maintain the fiction. What is life like for
children who know a parent is in prison for breaking laws? Nora
Raleigh Baskin's Ruby on the Outside gives readers one girl's
Because her mother is serving a long prison sentence, Ruby is
living with her aunt, Barbara, whom she calls Matoo, and her dog,
Loulou, in a condo complex close enough to allow for weekly
visitation. She's given up on her mom coming home any time soon. She
has her life separated into her outside regular life and her inside
Saturdays and holidays spent at an institution with its own strict set
Ruby is very careful to keep people from learning that her
mother is doing time. Of course this vigilence entails sacrifices.
Probably the hardest is the chance to have a real best friend. The
familiarity of visiting back and forth could lead to the revelation of
One summer things change. A new complex resident has perfect
best friend qualities. Starting middle school in the fall makes
having a best friend seem all the more imortant. But what will happen
if the person she lets into her home and heart learns the truth?
Ruby on the Outside is a poignant coming of age narrative.
Sadly it's all too relevant at a time when adherance to policies like
zero tolerance and three strikes leaves too many kids, particularly
black children, with loved ones on the inside.
On a personal note, I finally learned that Joey is fine. He was just
being displeased with having his fur trimmed. The vet assistants gave
him a rest every time he got upset. That's why it took awhile. Now
he is shaved except for his head, front legs, and chest. He looks
like a lion/dragon with gold owl eyes, a being ancient Egyptians would
have worshipped. He feels like velvet. He cuddles with me purring,
overjoyed to be home.
A great big shout out goes out to Veazie Vet people who know to tend
to animals' emotional as well as physical needs.
Sent from my iPod