“Three Little Words” by Ashley Rhodes-Courter is a memoir reflecting on a young girl’s tumultuous life in foster care. This is the first and only novel by Rhodes-Courter, and it is based on her 2003 New York Times Magazine publication. In 2008, her full memoir was published by New York based publishing house, Simon and Schuster.
“Three Little Words” focuses on the story of Ashley, a young, feisty redhead who’s unsuccessfully trying to make her way through the foster care system. She’s loud, opinionated and, at times, the epitome of a “bad child.” Rhodes-Courter uses the memoir to highlight the rough and tragic family life that has shaken her as an individual.
The novel is chock-full of tears, sibling rivalry, naïve hope, and, most prominently, the lesson of love. Through the eyes of a young, abandoned child, readers see the way in which life and love are connected. We learn that mothers and fathers sometimes leave, that brothers and sisters don’t always have your best interest at heart, and that the words “I love you” should be followed by the words “right now.”
Rhodes-Courter has successfully quilted together a story with depth, resilience, and the genuine truth of humanity. “Three Little Words” is light in volume, heavy in insight, and just right in teaching us what really matters in our short lives.