Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: Another Forgotten Child

Another Forgotten Child by Cathy Glass

A while back Nick and I were contacted by TLC Book Tours who are promoting this book about foster care and adoption. I was so excited to be invited to share my thoughts, as an adoptive mom, with such a wide audience. I hope Nick's commentary yesterday and my thoughts today are helpful to those considering learning more about the adoption world through this book.
Before I begin my review, Cathy Glass is the pseudonym for an actual British Foster Carer who has written many books about the children she has brought into her home, of course all names have been changed. The stories she tells are real, and she also has a couple parenting books out. Here is her author's page on Amazon and just below is the book trailer.

This genre of book is right up my alley with the intense and disturbing nature of the story. If I had to choose my favorite book it would be "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, another extremely sad and heart-wrenching story about children who were somehow missed by the system designed to protect them. So when we were approached to read the book I was very excited just because I love reading these types of stories! 

Let's begin with the good stuff! Aimee, the foster child, comes into Cathy Glass' home from a deeply disturbing and dark place with her mother as a severe drug addict. Aimee did not attend school regularly, she didn't know how to bathe or brush her teeth or even change her clothes, and she had bruises all over her body, which we learn is only the beginning of the abuse she endured. For me, Aimee is the books redeeming quality. She was ill-mannered, sassy, and downright rude, but she also loved and desired love so much that it was impossible not to love her. Things she said penetrated my heart deeply because of their simplicity and honesty. For example, (and I hate to give anything away here, but this was one of my favorite parts), at one point Aimee said

"Aimee gave my hand a little squeeze before she said, 'I'm lucky. Two families want me now as their daughter. Before no one did.'"
(Nearly brought me to tears reading that. No child should ever feel unwanted.)

Aimee's demeanor throughout the book was where Glass' writing really came to life for me and made me want to finish it despite my issues with Glass' writing style. When she wasn't directly talking about Aimee I found her writing distracting from the story I thought she should be telling. Additionally, Glass seemed to be talking to me as if she was talking to a child. As I read I kept on feeling like "okay, I get it. You made your point. Let's move on. You already said that a few pages ago." For example in the beginning she mentions a number of times that Aimee's unusual behavior was typical for children coming from similar situations, which wouldn't have been a big deal except she said it multiple times in the same chapter in regards to the same behavior, like Aimee's rejecting to use a knife and fork because her mom had never taught her how to use them. Her writing at times seemed very pandering and pedantic and it really bothered me, especially as I'm a bit familiar with the adoption/foster world.

Also, Glass really thinks a lot of herself as a foster carer. She must have casually put into the first few chapters a half a dozen times that she's cared for "over 100 children" and so she knew exactly how to handle such a challenging situation. Comments like that just came off as haughty and annoying and made me not care as much about Cathy or her viewpoints. It was also very demeaning to me as a reader when she had to justify her actions by telling me again and again about her extensive experience and expertise. At one point she even says, after someone did something in a way she wouldn't have done, "always the accommodating foster carer." Uhhh, humble much, Cathy?

Finally, at some points Glass would go on and on about details I found neither interesting or helpful. Towards the end of the book she belabored the point that the social service system is inefficient, which she's already explained a number of times, and then goes on for 3 paragraphs about how a meeting got started 35 minutes late because they couldn't find a room to use because no one had scheduled one. Seriously, I just summarized two pages of text into one sentence. Most of the time it wasn't like that, but occasionally I just found myself wondering what I was reading and why I was reading it.

Overall, the story was good enough and Aimee was real enough that I wanted to finish the book despite my issues with Glass' writing style. After reading the book I find myself hoping to foster care in the future, but not anymore than I had hoped to before reading and not necessarily because of anything that was said specifically. It was just a real story about foster caring in the UK that I would definitely recommend to friends who want to read such a story.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Disclosure: even though we received the book for free from the publisher, our opinions are our own.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I hope that you do have the opportunity to be a foster mom in the future! There are so many children out there who need parenting and love.

Thanks for being on the tour.