by Cynthia Voigt

Paperback, 1983



Local notes

PB Voi


Fawcett Juniper (1983), 384 page. $4.99.


Abandoned by their mother, four children begin a search for a home and an identity.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 6.95 inches


0449702545 / 9780449702543



User reviews

LibraryThing member rachelellen
This was, I believe, the second novel Cynthia Voigt wrote, and the first she had published. But I could have those reversed. Especially for a first novel, it's an amazing accomplishment. You meet the Tillerman family, who will be with you in six other books, and for the rest of your life in other ways. Voigt's characters are so real that you expect to look up and see them sitting in the room with you when you put the book down -- which is frequently very hard to do, and as soon as you're done, you want to move on to the next one. This first novel in the Tillerman saga introduces you to four children, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy, who are abandoned by their (schizophrenic?) mother en route to their great-aunt's house. This happens in the first chapter; the rest of the novel follows their journey (mostly on foot) first to the aunt's house and then from Connecticut to Maryland, where they wind up with a very real, very spirited, very conflicted grandmother. Kid-lit like this is definitely not just for kids.… (more)
LibraryThing member CBJames
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight is the story of four children on their own. The oldest, Dicey Tillerman who is still young enough to pass as a boy when she needs to, leads her three siblings on a cross country journey in search of a home. They must face this journey alone after their unstable mother abandons them in a car outside of a large shopping mall while on the way to the home of their great aunt. She never returns.

It's clear that Dicey has been covering for their mother for some time. She immediately takes charge of the situation, keeping the younger children in line, dividing tasks between herself and her brother James who's just a year or so younger than she is. Dicey hopes that their mother will return as soon as this latest spell is over, but she also fears that the police will find them and separate them. She wants her mother back, but even more than that she wants to keep her family together. So when it begins to get dark and her mother still has not returned, she decides to abandon the car and walk to their great aunt's house, though it's a trip that will take several weeks and they have just over ten dollars between them.

What follows is a terrific survival story. Ms. Voight knows what she is talking about here. The details of how the children survive, earn money, get food, find shelter and eventually find their great aunt's home are completely realistic. (If you had to run away from home with only a few dollars to you name in 1981 when the book was written this book could have been your field guide.) There are no flights of fancy here, no unexplained or surprise rescuers, no helpful coincidences that appear out of no where to save the day. Dicey is simply too determined to fail. Her siblings recognize this and stick to her side through thick and thin. She does not disappoint them.

Homecoming is more or less officially a young adult novel, but it should be seen as a young adult novel in the same sense that To Kill a Mockingbird is a young adult novel. Put a more sophisticated cover on it, take off the references to the Newberry Medal and you have a novel about children written for all audiences. Ms. Voight never talks down to her audience, never makes things easy for them, but she does write a compelling tale. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are as richly drawn as any you'll find in an "adult" novel. Motivations are complicated here. People try to do the right thing by each other only to find both the giver and the receiver of charity are too complicated to make even the most generous act go smoothly. It's not that no good deed goes unpunished, but no good deed is easy to swallow.

One thing that sets Homecoming above other novels like this is that once the children find a home, their great aunt's house, they also find that it is not really what they were looking for. Most writers would end their stories at the doorstep of their destination with a happy and satisfying reunion. Ms. Voight could have done so and still had an excellent novel. Instead, Dicey, her sister and her brothers find they have such a difficult time fitting in that they must consider taking to the road again, this time to look for the grandmother they never knew, one whom their mother rarely had a kind word for.
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy Tillerman's momma left them in the car while she went into a shopping mall. They were on their way from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to stay with a relative. But the hours passed, and Momma never came back. Dicey knew that she had to do something -- something to keep the family together. If she went to the police, would they be split up and sent to foster homes? It was a risk she didn't want to take. So, Dicey and her younger siblings set out on the long walk to Bridgeport, hoping that Momma would somehow find her way there. But even Bridgeport may not be the home they had hoped for, and their journey might take them even further away, to Crisfield, Maryland, and the grandmother they didn't even know they had.

I've loved this series for years. The story of the Tillerman family is so rich, so bittersweet. Voigt just nails it on so many levels: the interactions between the characters, the way she describes the hardships of the journey without ever making the story drag, the descriptions of food and music and simple pleasures. This is a book that I can revisit again and again.
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LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
This story of the Tillerman kids, abandoned by their mother in a carpark, was gripping from the first page. Thirteen-year-old Dicey immediately sees that they have to avoid notice, so the four siblings won't be taken into custody and split up. She has a few dollars, an address, and a family to hold together, until they can find their mother again.
The sibling's trip is exciting, and enough to keep the pages turning rapidly - by the time they reach Great Aunt Cilla's house, I really cared about each character so much that the moments of their lives were more engrossing than the action.But things continued to be hair raising after they reach Cilla's - it was great to read something as evenly divided between action and mystery.
I was often reminded of the V.C. Andrews books I read a long time ago - just the determination of the family to stay together, not the incesty bits. And that family gothic staple of madness running in a family, and the family trying and failing to outrun it. I will be eagerly reading my way through the rest of the books in this series.
I'd give this to readers who like gritty family stories, urban adventure stories, stories about runaways, and to any lingering VC Andrews fans, as an example of a well written and intelligent family gothic.
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LibraryThing member msmalnick
I have such a soft spot for this book. It stands out as my favorite from the early teen years. Can't say why, as I truly can't relate to 4 kids who are all on their own, but I just love it.
LibraryThing member cwagoner
307/402 pages read, The book is about four kids who were left behind with no one watching after them. They go looking for releatives to live with, any way for them to just settle down. The main character is Dicey, who is the oldest sister of the four kids who is trying to some what take the place of their mom since she can no loner be around. She is a real leader for her age, she seems nice and caring but she can be tough when she needs to be to stick up for her family. She is a hard worker and someone who has a good head on their shoulders and knows what she is trying to do. There were alot of times when dicey made decisions that i would have done as well. Also when she watchs out for her family, I know that I would do the same if it were me and my sister. The one thing that i didnt like most about this book was that it started to get boring which is why I lost interest and ended up not finishing the book. I would recomend this book to someone who enjoys reading the fews of a early teen. Not like what they think about clothes or girls/boys but how the act in a time of crisis.… (more)
LibraryThing member silentq
I've read Dicey's Song and enjoyed already, and when I spotted this book at the store, I grabbed it, as it's the prequel. Dicey's mom leaves the four kids in the car in a parking lot in CT, and disappears. Dicey has to get her two brothers and her sister to a new home, so they set off walking. She's 13, can read a map, and is determined to take care of her siblings. It's the sort of book that if I read it as a kid, I probably wouldn't have day dreamed so much about running away, it's hard to keep yourself fed and sheltered and out of trouble if you're not an adult. The kids encounter some helping hands along the way, and some adults that want to bend them to their own ends, but all along the spectre of their mom's behaviour haunts them. It was neat getting the details of their journey, the family is made up of compelling characters, I enjoyed reading this part of their story, too.… (more)
LibraryThing member mhg123
13-year-old Dicey and her three siblings are abandoned by their mentally ill mother in the parking lot of a mall in Connecticut. It's the middle of summer and they only have $14. Since they were all originally on their way to stay with a "rich" aunt in Bridgeport, CT, Dicey decides to continue on foot. Unfortunately, They are miles away from their destination. When they finally arrive in Bridgeport, the aunt has died and they are left in the care of a rather odd cousin. The journey doesn't end there. A story of survival and perserverance in the face of adversity.… (more)
LibraryThing member prpl_reader_services
First of the Tillerman series, this is the story of eldest child Dicey and her siblings James, Maybelle and Sammy. The book opens with their mother leaving them in a mall parking lot, and we follow them as they set out to figure out where their mother is. They encounter many challenges along the way, and also meet several meet family they never knew.… (more)
LibraryThing member readingrat
A heart-warming story about 4 abandoned children bonding together during their search for a new home.
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
Best book I've read so far this year (I know: February 1 means that's not saying a lot, but I bet it's still in the top five come December 31). This young-adult book is the first in Voigt's Tillerman Cycle, and it follows the Tillerman children's journey from Connecticut to Maryland. When their mother disappears, leaving thirteen-year-old Dicey, ten-year-old James, nine-year-old MayBeth, and six-year-old Sammy alone in the family car, the Tillermans must decide what to do. Dicey takes charge of the family and leads them first to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she knows an aunt lives, and then, when the aunt makes noises about not being able to keep all four kids, on to Crisfield, Maryland, and an unknown grandmother . This journey is made mostly on foot, and the book chronicles the ins-and-outs of life on the road for four children with almost no money. They meet quite a few people along the way--mostly kind and helpful strangers--but the focus is always on the family and what they learn about themselves, each other, and life. As most of Voigt's books do, Homecoming makes the details of everyday chores fascinating and provides character studies that would rival those in adult literary fiction. Never sappy or sentimental and serious without ever being depressing. Recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member cabinmn
4 children abandoned by mother travel to a relative with $9.00 and a few clothes. Traveling across country with only an address. Big sister, Dicy, keeps the family together by becoming a mother figure. Good mystery as how to get to Conn. Kept me rivoted on what would happen next.

Fictional story of four children who lived in abandoned by Mom. They had an address in Bridgeport, Conn. for an Aunt they'd never met. Great mystery as to how they'd get to Bridgeport from Providencetown.… (more)
LibraryThing member alanpan
an awsome adventure of kids lost but found there way to their aunts house.
LibraryThing member mybookshelf
Dicey is thirteen. She can dimly remember her father, though James, Maybeth, and Sammy, her three younger siblings, can not. When their mother leaves them in a car park at the mall and forgets to come back, Dicey decides that, rather than involve Social Services, she will look after her family herself. With just an address to aim for, the four children set off on foot across the state to try to find some relatives to take care of them.

Initially, looking at the map, Dicey estimates it will be a few days’ walk to Bridgeport, where they are hoping that an aunt they’ve never met will be able to give them news of their mother. But after they have walked a day or two, they realise the incredible difference between walking and driving, and that it will take weeks to reach their uncertain destination.

There are people who offer assistance to Dicey and her family, but mostly they must operate by themselves. However as a family unit they are inseparable, and each sibling is tolerant of the others’ imperfections: Dicey can be bossy, Maybeth is painfully shy around strangers, Sammy is selfish (like all six-year-olds) and James is a bit of a know-it-all. As they continue to co-operate, the family become increasingly aware of how important they each are to each other.

Of course, one of the children’s primary concerns is food. Their mother had told them they were going to visit Aunt Cilla in Bridgeport, and packed a few sandwiches each for the car journey. After Momma abandons them, the children have only a little pocket money between them, which is quickly used up. Then, as Dicey quickly realises, they have no way to get food without money, and children have very few ways of obtaining money without family assistance.

The children do not know why their mother has left them. They do not know whether she will come back, or whether she might even be dead. The older two children, Dicey and James, begin to wonder whether there is something not quite right about their family, and whether madness can be inherited.

This is a story primarily about family relationships. Dicey is a well-developed character, with many conflicting emotions which make her seem very real to the reader. I would recommend this story to readers who enjoy the idea of making decisions for themselves, or who are interested in life in America.
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LibraryThing member rustedharmony
Dicey Tillerman and her three other siblings, James, Sammy, and Maybeth are abandoned in a mall parking lot by their mother. With their mother and father gone from their lives, they decide to set off to their Great-aunt Cilla, who lives all the way in Bridgeport, miles away. With only a map and a few dollars, the four Tillermans cross through cities and scrape up pennies and jobs. When they finally get to Cilla's house, they realize she had died so they live with her daughter, Cousin Eunice.Even with a proper home and guardian, the children aren't satisfied with Eunice, a woman who thinks she's only doing a duty and doesn't really want them. Once again, they're off, this time to the only family member they know is left. In Maryland, their grandmother, Abigail Tillerman, lives in an old farm by Chesapeake Bay. Full of hope, the Tillermans make their way to their grandmother. Finally, they know this is the right place.

I have this book myself and I have worn it out by reading it so much. I enjoyed it very well. I loved the details and trickery these children had to con their way into getting across states. I love reading how these small children would fight with each other. I think they were really brave.

An expansion could be to write about visiting at a family members house. Another expansion can be to draw a family portrait.
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LibraryThing member wenxin
"Homecoming" was my favourite book in my early teens. Diecy and her siblings are abandoned by her mother in a car. She leaves her home to somewhere far where her grandmother stays. The story tells how they survive through their journey, almost penniless. It was very appealing to me when I read it 6 years ago, perhaps stories of family relationships are always very heartwarming.… (more)
LibraryThing member MissReadsALot
I thought this book was really good, but depressing at the same time. I love this author and hope to read the rest of this series.
LibraryThing member brittneywest
I remember reading this book in the 4th grade. After rereading the book, all the memories I had began to come back to me. The book is a Tillerman series that focues on the lives of Dicey Tillerman and her struggle to take care of her siblings after her mother abandones them in a shopping mall parking lot. The children set out to find their mother and sturggles to find places to live and food to eat on their journey. They find a cousin and live their for a brief moment and then leave in hopes of finding their mother. Eventually, they find their maternal grandmother- a woman who is very selfish and stuck in her own ways. She finally realizes to love and care for her grandchildren.… (more)
LibraryThing member electrascaife
Dicey and her brothers and sister are abandoned by their mother in a car in a mall parking lot. They were on their way to an aunt's house, so they decide to keep going on their own, hoping that this unknown relative will take them in and help them find their mother. Dicey leads them on a long journey through towns, state parks, across rivers and bays, sleeping in off-the-road places and doing odd jobs here and there for spare change while avoiding any authorities. Their trek doesn't end at the aunt's place, though, who isn't, for various reasons, good for them. But they learn that they have a possibly-insane grandmother, and so they continue on with their journey, alone but together.
An excellent yarn; I was rooting for Dicey and her little family from Page One.
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LibraryThing member justablondemoment
I really had a hard time with this book. It was slow moving to me and my attention kept wandering. I also had a hard time accepting that these very young children were going cross country on foot with no money and even though they were hungry most of the time they never got into trouble or got caught or with the exception of the one farmer never really had any bad incidents. In other words it didn't feel real. Makes me shudder to think that there would be young people out there who would read this and go the route of the Tillerman children instead of going to a church or some other establishment for help. In todays world children that young doing what this book lays out ..they would food for the wolves.… (more)
LibraryThing member br13fema
Fe Martinez
Book Review

HOMECOMING by Cynthia Voight

After being abandoned by their mother in a parking lot. Dicey, James, Sammy and Maybeth Tillerman, take matters into their own hands. With barely any money, little food and no shelter, the Tillermans make their way through the city. As they grew closer to the house, Dicey and her siblings build hope to see their mother again. When they arrive, they are informed that their aunt Cilla passed away. Her daughter, Eunice, now lived in that house. Living with Eunice caused many problems since the women didn’t want anything to do with the children. On the road again, to grandma’s. Grandma Abigail doesn’t welcome the children the moment she met them. Ab thought that they were leaving after only one night. The children changed her mind after they started working in her farm. It took a while, but the children broke through Ab’s tough outer shell and got really close to her. They might have finally got a place to call home.

I enjoyed how the author slowly yet strongly pulled the reader into the story. By coming on strong with the abandonment in the car to where the children have to survive with no one to depend on but themselves. Leaving the readers in suspense wanting more. Cynthia did a fantastic job unfolding the plot and foreshadowing a few events. It wasn’t necessary to detail every day the kids had on their own. Thankful I stuck it through, the end is amazing. I really enjoyed the secrets of their history and their future. Homecoming by Cynthia Voight is a great read.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
I wonder how many children living in the United States today could do what Dicey and her family does? Both in terms of the children knowing how to survive on their own, and also being able to avoid the attention of adults as they traveled. I really liked how Dicey was torn between wanting to care for her family and also feeling burdened. I liked that she wasn't satisfied to just "make do" but kept searching until she found the right place for herself and her brothers and sisters.… (more)
LibraryThing member br13emha
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt is a sad yet heart-warming story. After the four Tillerman children are abandoned by their mother they must find a relative to stay with. Dicey, the oldest sister, has to lead them towards the middle of Connecticut to find their Great-aunt Cilla.They are only left with those two facts, they do not have an address or even what town she lives in. This book shows true bravery and survival. The four kids, all under 12, must make it from Provincetown to central Connecticut. Together they had to make money in order to buy food and find little shelters during the night. It doesn’t help that the youngest, Sammy, keeps asking why their mom has left them. When they reached their Great-aunt’s house they received tragic news and once again must travel to find their way to west Virginia, where their long lost Grandmother lives. This is an enthralling book that has twist and turns in every chapter. It will keep you laughing and crying when you read about the Tillerman’s tragic yet humouring life.
Cynthia Voigt shows very descriptive writing the way she describes each and every one of the Tillermans. She writes their trip in such detail you feel as if you are right there with them. You feel everything they feel, see everything they see, and hear everything they do. You can really see it in your head. “Rebellion is necessary for development of character.” Says author, Cynthia Voigt Many readers are intrigued as they read about the crazy life these kids have to face. "This book grabbed me and wouldn't let go." Says reader, Jack Oer. It is a great first book to the trilogy . Read along as the Tillermans make some crazy new friends as they run from their past, and social workers. “It just touches you how much family matters in this book” Reader Lib Austin states. I think people all ages would like this book because it is full of pain, humour, and drama. There is really no age limit to this book, it suits all people.
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LibraryThing member peggygillman
The first in the Tillerman cycle. Good writing and enjoyable story. I was haunted by the thought that I had read it before and maybe I have. 7/5/12
LibraryThing member br13shakel
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight is a very sad book. Homecoming is about a mother that abandons her four children in a car parking lot. The four children must stick together to find their Great Aunt Cilla, to live with her, since they have nowhere else to go. The four kids Dicey (13), James (10), Maybeth (9), and Sammy (6) are very close sibling. The oldest Dicey makes sure that nothing will split them up.
In my option thinking about everything that the children went through is incredible! To think about everything I have, and then thinking about what they have and how lucky I am and how lucky everyone I know are. These kids really have nothing really but each other. I enjoyed seeing how the kids could stick together.
I enjoyed this book better than the other book I read by Cynthia Voight called Jackaroo. Even though the books were complexly different I liked Homecoming better. Jackaroo I felt was boring in the begging while Homecoming got started right way. Homecoming is a very good book that I would recommend to others.
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