Monday, February 25, 2013

Foster Mom Memoir Compelling Despite Dull Prose

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Cathy Glass, a British woman who's been a foster mother for over 25 years, is asked to take in an abrasive 8-year-old, she hesitates.  With a history of violent behavior, especially toward her mom, little Aimee Mason has been labeled "The Child From Hell."  Cathy's had plenty of experience with troubled children, but this one might be too much, even for her.  Still, she can't turn her back on a needy child, so she accepts the challenge of fostering Aimee.

The more Cathy gets to know her young charge, the more she realizes just how thoroughly Aimee has been abused.  As the little girl learns to trust her foster mother, Cathy hears stories that make her blood run cold.  Considering the horrifying home life Aimee endured, the only question is:  Why wasn't she removed from her home sooner?  How could the foster care system have failed a child whose name had been on their records since birth?  Cathy knows she can't let it happen again—she has to make sure Aimee never suffers that kind of abuse again.  But will the child's drug addict mother be sly enough to get Aimee back?  Or can Cathy save the child that everyone else has refused to give a second glance?  The life of a tortured young girl hangs in the balance ...

Cathy Glass has written a number of books—both fiction and non—based on the children she's fostered over the years.  The newest, Another Forgotten Child, is Aimee's story.  And it's just as appalling as it sounds.  Although the details Glass offers about the child's abuse are not as graphic as they no doubt could be, they're still plenty disturbing.  To think that a young girl had to endure all of it just boggles the mind.  Which is, no doubt, why Glass wrote this book.  She's obviously passionate about alerting the public to the abuse some children experience in their homes, encouraging healthy families to help by becoming foster parents, and inspiring adults to stand up for kids who are being mistreated.  Glass' cause is admirable, of course.  Her delivery needs some work, though.  Although the story chronicled  in Another Forgotten Child is compelling, Glass uses dull, tell-not-show prose, making the narration a bit bumpy.  All in all, I found the book impactful, I just wish the writing had been more dynamic.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of the books Torey L. Hayden wrote about the children she helped while working as a teacher and therapist)

Grade:  C

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, violence, and depictions of severe child abuse/neglect

4 comments:

  1. I read them a long time ago and remember finding them very compelling (I don't know if ENJOY is the right word for these kinds of books). I think that was before I had kids, though. Now, I can hardly stomach these kinds of stories. I understand why people write them and hope that they do inspire people to advocate more for abused children, but dang, they're tough to read!

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  2. Sounds like the combination of choppy writing and premise would just not work for me. I do like that these books are being written, though.

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  3. As a parent myself it horrifies me to imagine the reality of what many children are put through. I definitely admire Cathy for putting these issues out there.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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