As a result of her mother's incarceration, Astrid is thrusted into a myriad of unmerited situations- the foster homes. One evil stepmother leads to another in this tale of adversity and just when Astrid's prospects brighten under a shining sun, the clouds roll in and it begins to rain. "White Oleander" is a Cinderella story with all the ingredients of misery and misfortune but the wrong ending.
At the beginning of her first real encounter with calamity, Astrid is inundated with a deluge of emotions, leaving her dazed. It is during this time of bewilderment that the young girl is placed in her first foster home in the custody of a Sunday Christian named Starr. With the absence of a father figure in her life, Astrid's feelings for Ray metamorphose into those of desire and what began as a timid liking, turns into something much more. The Oedipal feelings she harbors towards "Uncle" Ray, Starr's boyfriend, lead ultimately her expulsion from the home.
Now crippled with the consequences of her desires, Astrid is relocated to the racially "opinionated" turquoise home of Marvel where she is exposed to the influence of the sophisticated Olivia. In her time of need for something beautiful when her own beauty has been marred by the Starr's jealousy, Astrid idolizes the woman next door who is, in her eyes, perfect. She comes to depend on Olivia as a staple in her life, someone who will be there to teach her the things a woman should know. However, contact with her idol eventually leads Astrid to another home because of Marvel's racist ideals.
Cut off from her hero, whom she reluctantly realizes is just like her mother, Astrid is placed in a beautiful home in the custody of a graceful Hispanic woman named Amelia. At this point, Astrid's role changes from that of a babysitter. In Amelia's home, she becomes money to pay for more remodeling. In this environment where she has nothing to eat, Astrid's survival instincts come to play. What isn't provided for her, she...
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