Book review-Broken by rosie Lewis

I’ve just finished this wonderful book by Rosie lewis, UK foster parent, it was an amazing read, a really good book.
Below I will put the book summary, along with my thoughts.

Summary

Nine-year-old Archie and his five-year-old sister, Bobbi, are taken into emergency police protective custody after an incident of domestic violence at their family home.

Rosie collects the children from their out-of-hours foster carer on New Year’s Day and instantly recognises Archie from a domestic violence workshop she helped with. Rosie remembers that when asked what he enjoyed most about the course, Archie said, ‘The biscuits’.

Social workers are concerned that Archie and Bobbi have been neglected. As Rosie gets to know the children, she begins to suspect that something far more disturbing lies in their past.

Archie, jovial and polite, bats away Rosie’s attempts to talk to him about anything serious with witty one-liners and sophisticated distractions. Bobbi reacts violently, lashing out and throwing herself around. Rosie has never seen a child as young a Bobbi behaving so viciously, but it is Archie she is most concerned about as the weeks go by.

After a worrying incident at school, Archie tearfully discloses the truth – a shocking secret that has left him and his sister traumatised. Horrified at what she learns, Rosie is determined to help the young siblings find a forever home that will provide them with the love and care they deserve.

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This book is a page turner. I literally couldn’t put it down. It has many twists and turns in it. I enjoy rosie’s style of writing. If you like Cathy glass, or Maggie Hartley, then you’ll enjoy this book. I wont spoil the ending but all I will say is it is not disappointing.

The book is available in paperback, on kindle, and from audible.

My book…broken

I’m really enjoying broken by rosie lewis. she’s a great writer. And I am finding the book to be so interesting. I like how Rosie employs therapeutic strategies with the children, despite only being their foster parent and not an actual therapist.

Its very interesting and I think what she does is so helpful and is really helping the kids. I have yet to find out what the actual traumas are that the kids have gone through, I’m not that far into the book though. I’m only 8 chapters in. Am about to start chapter 9.

I think Cathy Glass is always going to be my number one foster parent that writes books that I love, but Rosie Lewis is a close second. I’ve read all of her other books and loved each of them equally. She even adopted one of her foster kids, and wrote about her in another book called taken.

I don’t think I’ll read any more tonight, well I am saying that now, but if I don’t sleep some time soon I may just pick up my book again and read some more until I am tired enough to fall asleep. I don’t want to read too much though what happens me is I tend to get hooked and then I cant put the book down.

Anyway all that to say I am loving my current book and I cant wait to do a review once I am done reading it.

 

Book review:A long way from home by Cathy glass

So I just finished the book a long way from home by Cathy Glass. A wonderful read. Different from most of her other foster care memoirs, this is Annas story. A story about a little girl adopted from an orphanage who came into foster care after being diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder and when her behaviour became unmanageable for her parents.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a poignant read. Deeply moving, very sad in places, but also full of hope.
The summary for the book follows.

The true story of two-year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage.

Elaine and Ian had travelled halfway round the world to adopt little Anna. She couldn’t have been more wanted, loved and cherished. So why was she now in foster care and living with me? It didn’t make sense.

Until I learned what had happened…

Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts, the children were incarcerated in their cots. Their large eyes stared out blankly from emaciated faces. Some were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished. Flies circled around the broken ceiling fans and buzzed against the grids covering the windows. The only toys were a few balls and a handful of building bricks, but no child played with them. The silence was deafening and unnatural. Not one of the 30 or so infants cried, let alone spoke.

This book can be gotten from audible, its also available on kindle. and in paperback. It is Cathy glass’s latest foster care memoir.

Book review-The little princess by Casey Watson

So I just finished a great book by Casey watson. Its a short story called the little princess. Its available only on kindle I think. It is a book you could read in an hour, but I read it in two halves because it is very triggering especially for child abuse survivors.
It is the week before christmas. Casey and her family are getting ready for the festivities. It is a sunday afternoon, and Casey sees her link worker John Fulshaw pull up outside. She thinks he is calling to make his usual christmas visit. But this isnt the case at all.
When John comes inside, he sits down and begins to tell casey why he has called. A little girl needs a home. And the social services are desperate. Darby is six. She has come to the attention of social services because a local paedophile reported seeing images of her online performing sex acts with sex toys. He lived on her estate and recognised the little girl as one he knew. He was so sickened by what he saw that he reported it to the authorities. The police went to the house, burst in and inside they found an elaborate set up, with cameras, thousands of images, etc. Darby was immediately taken into care and her parents arrested.
Casey is shocked. She agrees to take Darby for a couple of weeks, until a long term plan can be put together. John tells Casey that they will bring darby to her in the next hour. Casey tells her family the bare minimum, she doesnt want to tell them the full story about what has happened to darby just yet.
When Darby arrives with her social worker, she is shy and quiet. Casey prepares food for her and she sits watching cartoons and eating it while caseys husband does the paperwork with the social worker for her hand over. All of a sudden she says she wants to go home. When Casey explains she cant go home, she starts waling and saying she wants her mom and dad. She ends up crying for hours and exhausting herself until she falls asleep.
Over the next few days, things get worse. Darby begins to display signs of sexual acting out. There is one scene In the book which is very triggering where she tries to do a sexual act with one of caseys grandchildren. Casey begins to doubt herself and thinks she is unable to cope with darby and wants to send her somewhere else because she feels ill equipped to handle her behaviour. After her daughter Riley says that they shouldnt send her away, they decide to try to give her a good christmas despite everything. And she does have a good christmas. There are some upsetting scenes on christmas day though. I dont want to spoil the whole book so I wont say what those scenes are but again they show just how much abuse darby has been through.
I wont spoil the end of the book by telling you what happens to Darby. This book is a good read and highlights what happens when a child is exposed to a paedophile ring and severe child abuse. I recommend it to any social work students, foster carers, or anyone whose just interested in this type of story.

Book review-The girl with no bedroom door, by Angela Hart

i just finished this book. its a short story so it didnt take very long to read it. i read it on kindle.
this book tells louise’s story. louise was 14 when she came to angela and jonathon. She had been sleeping rough and her previous foster placement had broken down. when she arrived she was dressed in clothes that werent clean, she was smelly, and didnt take good care of her physical appearance. She had very low self esteem. On her first evening angela asked her if she wanted to help her cook. She did, but she said she couldnt cook, she was rubbish at it. Angela quickly realised she had a lot of work to do with Louise to build up her confidence and self esteem. Angela had tried to make louise go for a shower on her first night, but she only pretended to shower. the next morning angela went to collect louise’s washing. she noticed a very bad smell coming from her room. when she pulled back the duvet she noticed louise had wet the bed. this wetting of her bed went on for months, despite angelas best efforts to talk to louise and try to get her not to cover it up. she showed louise where the clean sheets were and told her that she could get clean sheets any time, and tried to make her not cover up the fact that she was wetting her bed. but to no avail. eventually louise began to take care of her physical appearance, after angela took her shopping and bought her new underwear and pajamas and things. she told angela she’d never had new clothes before. she eventually began to open up to angela. she wrote her a note because she said it would be easier to tell her things that way. angela read the note on her own, because that is what louise wanted. the note explained that as a baby louise had become very ill, and her dad had left her mom. her mom had turned to drink and was not able to cope. she began to go out with lots of boyfriends and with each boyfriend she had another baby. so that soon she had six kids. louise said she was frightened of her moms boyfriends, some of them were mean and scary and horrible to her and her siblings. one of them smashed the bedroom door and used it to make a fire. when louise would wet the bed her moms boyfriend would push the sheets in her face and her mom would tell her she was dirty and disgusting. she began to think she was worthless. pretty soon she had no self worth and no self esteem at all. angela was determined that she would help louise. so she got her help with school lessons like biology and french. louise worked very hard and really enjoyed the lessons. the more she achieved the more she wanted to achieve. angela also enroled her in trampolining. louise loved that. then as a reward for no bedwetting for a month she took her to get her hair done and her nails done at a top salon. at the end of the book we see that louise is doing very well. she moved on from angelas to main stream foster care, angelas placement was a specialised teen placement. when she was in main stream foster care it didnt go quite as well as when she was with angela. but she kept in touch with angela and to this day they are in touch. louise is in her 30’s now and married and has a top position at a law firm. she never had kids of her own and doesnt want any. she enjoys spending time with her many nieces and nephews. at the time she was in foster care her siblings were also taken into care after she disclosed to angela what was going on at home. i think the book was good and i would recommend it to anyone who enjoys foster care memoirs.

book review damaged by cathy glass

recently i finished a great book by UK foster carer cathy glass. it was called damaged. damaged is jody’s story. jody came to cathy having gone through 5 placements in four months. cathy was her last hope, if cathy wasnt able to look after her, she would have had to go into residential. jody was 8 years old when she came into care. she’d been on the at risk register since birth, as were her half brother ben and half sister chelsea. from the start she displayed very disturbed behaviours. she would throw severe tantrums, kick, bite, punch herself and others, it was also felt that she had mild to moderate learning difficulties. she was angry, and defiant. she struggled at school and was only at the learning level of a preschooler. as i mentioned cathy was her last hope. cathy struggled with her from the get go. but she was determined to do all she could so that jody wouldnt have to go to a residential secure unit. she tried to give jody some sort of a normal family life. however jody was very rude, and did not get along with cathys own 3 children paula, adrian and lucy. she also started displaying sexualised behaviour early on. she would masturbate in public, and saw nothing wrong with that. she would also make sexual advances towards adrian who was 17. eventually after a few months living with cathy, jody started to make disclosures. it was during one incident where jody had tried to have sex with a doll, that she disclosed to cathy that her dad used to have sex with her in her bedroom and in the car. then she told cathy that other men did the same thing. cathy was horrified. jody then went on to say that her mother knew and hadnt done anything to stop it. the police were informed and jody had to go through a forensic medical examination. she also had an interview with some child protection officers but she clammed up and refused to divulge anything. it was decided that the file would remain open in case some time down the road jody was ready to open up and talk about what happened. cathy felt outraged knowing that her perpetrators would not be prosecuted. there was however little she could do. she just kept trying to show jody what a normal family life was, including her in family activities, engaging with her. jody would have constant nightmares and flashbacks and hallucinations and she was eventually also diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. she had 3 alters, reg, amy and an adult unnamed alter. when reg took over jody would appear very masculine and strong and very angry. amy was a 2 year old and when she took over jody would suck her thumb and talk babyish. cathy struggled on as best as she could. however jodys symptoms just kept intensifying. eventually after a year it was felt that jody would have no hope in a family environment and it was felt that her best option was a theraputic residential community. she was so damaged and was unable to attach to anyone. security, love patience and firm boundaries hadnt reached her. after being assessed by a psychologist the residential unit high oaks was chosen. slowly jody was introduced to the unit and eventually she moved there permanently. cathy says in her book that jody was the most disturbed child she had ever looked after in all of her years of fostering. her story is unforgettable. it is a powerful read and i highly recommend other foster parents, social workers, survivors of trauma, or anyone interested in true life memoirs reads it. i will warn though there are graphic descriptions of different types of abuse discussed in the book including child porn, sexual abuse, emotional abuse etc. this was my second time to read the book. as usual cathy has done a great job of telling jody’s story and tells it with honesty, candor and love.

Book review-Too scared to cry, by maggie hartley

I’ve just finished an amazing short story by foster carer Maggie Hartley. This is a new author I’ve come across while searching for new kindle books to read. The story centres around 3 siblings, ben, damien, and Noah. Ben and Damien are 3 and 4 years old. They first come to Maggie and are very very quiet, complient, and obedient. They are afraid to do or say anything, afraid to play, afraid to make a sound. They’ve been removed from their parents Rob and Tracey because of injuries that were found on bed while he was at nursery. he told the nursery workers that his daddy had hit him. When the social workers talked to the parents it was found that rob was very controlling so the two older kids were removed. Noah, who was six months was left with his parents. But after a day or two the social workers phoned maggie back gto say that Noah was also being removed. When claire, the kids social worker arrives with Noah Maggie is shocked. He is a shell of a baby, blank and not responsive to anyone or anything. He doesnt play. He doesnt smile. And he doesnt cry or make a sound. Maggie knows it will take time and a lot of love to get these 3 kids over the damage caused by their parents. She works with the kids and slowly over the following weeks they start making progress. They start to talk and play and it helps that maggie has an older child Ollie who is 8 and also a teen kate who is 17 in the house. She works with Noah and finally he starts to do things like roll over, babble etc. He starts to reach the milestones for his age. After a couple of weeks the kids social worker says that they are arranging contact with their parents, 3 times a week. Maggie cant help but notice that every time the kids come back from contact they are more reserved, and quieter than normal. And Noah is back to being the unresponsive baby he was when heh first arrives. It takes a long time for Maggie to resettle the kids. Eventually after assessing the parents the social workers separate them and the contact is taking place separately for both parents. First the dad Rob doesnt turn up for contact. Then two weeks later the mom Tracey doesnt show up either. So contact is stopped. Tracey and Rob are being assessed to see if they will be allowed to have their kids back. But its clear they arent interested. It was never proven that they did anything physically to the kids, but when the kids first arrived with Maggie they had bruises so that was proof enough. Eventually after both parents stopped showing up for contact it was felt that the kids would benefit from being adopted. It was clear their bio parents didnt want them back. So claire their social worker started looking for a forever family for them. It only took a short while to find one. Dave and Linda were teachers, and had been trying IVF and trying to have kids for years. When asked if they’d be interested in adopting a sibling group they jumped at the chance. They were put before a matching panel and were successfully matched with the kids. Over the next week they saw the kids regularly and spent more time with them meeting them and playing with them, bathing them and having lunch and dinner with them, and putting them to bed. The kids adjusted well to their new parents. They were happy and eventually they moved in with their new mom and dad. Maggie saw them a month after they’d moved in and they were doing really well. She was really pleased with how things had turned out. Noah was now 1 year old and was walking and he had gotten over the severe emotional trauma and neglect he had suffered. The other two kids were happy and healthy and had also adjusted well and seemed to be thriving. I feel this book is a great read for anyone who likes stories about resilience and overcoming the odds. Or for anyone who enjoys foster care memoirs and true life stories about children in care.