This book caught my eye because it looked an interesting read and also because I noticed that it was based on a true story. I thought that in general this book was an excellent read and would recommend it to all readers. I also found it a very easy read, but also thought that it dragged on quite a lot, I found this about half way through and didn't really enjoy it from about then on mainly because I felt that the writer was trying to make it longer but instead lost my interest. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I knew that the story had actually happened to someone and therefore wanted to know exactly how it ended, as by this point had guessed what was going to happen. The story is based around a young girl of six called Sarah Harris, and her life about how she was accused for some tragic and horrible incidents that happened to the people around her and in the end we find out that this inasent young girl had been bullied into living a lie.
After reading a couple the other reviews on this site for Betrayed I felt like I had to give my opinion too, as it seems to be a little from what others have made of it.
It took me close to 6 months to finish reading this book, and not because I'm that much of a slow reader but I just found (about half-way through) that I wasn't that interested. I first purchased this book because I was intrigued by the title and the front cover (even though, yes, I know you should never judge a book by it's cover.....). Basically as you can see from the picture of the book, it has a photo of a little girl clutching a teddy and we are told that, according to Judy Finnigan from Richard & Judy, this is 'a really shocking story'.
I picked the book up because I thought it would offer me something different - I had been reading chick lit after chick lit and wanted something with a bit more depth for a change. Hence, my purchase of Betrayed.
When I bought this book I didn't realise that it was based on a true story, but it is, and it tells the story of Lyndsey Harris and her daughter Sarah. In the beginning we are told a little about how Lyndsey fell in love, got married and had two children, Sarah and Luke. She also has a very close friend Tanya. Lyndsey and Tanya confide in each other and share everything, they have a really close bond. When it seems that Sarah's behaviour is a little strange at times, Lyndsey trusts in Tanya her feelings and worries about her daughter who is not even 10 years old at the time.
The book then basically progresses to inform us about how the situation with Lyndsey and her little girl, Sarah unfolds.
I'll be honest; I wasn't too keen on this book. As it is a true story, I did feel touched by the incidents which are described. But I just don't think it written very well, which let it down big-time. The book is easy to read, maybe even a bit too easy. The end of each and every chapter was overly dramatic and a little too obvious in my opinion. At times I felt I could have been reading a script for a TV soap - cliff-hangers were all over the place.
In addition, this book was written as though it is supposed to be a mystery, leaving the reader in suspense of what has been happening to make little Sarah the way that she is. Now I don't know if it was just me, but I had figured it out way before the end of the book, which meant I read most of this book in frustration as it was just too obvious!! To be honest I only finished reading it to prove to myself that I was right!
All in all, the storyline of this book is interesting, but it's written badly, and at times in an insensitive way (because of the overly dramatic description at the end of each chapter).
This book is available on Amazon.co.uk for £5.49, or for £0.01 used and new, at the time of writing this review.
I've just finished reading this over 3 days, which is very quick for me as I've found it hard getting back into books but it was one of those you find hard to put down. I picked it up from the Library as I've been reading a lot of autobiographical style books lately and this had a 'Richard & Judy's True Winner' sticker on it so I thought it must be good to get an award, and it was!
Betrayed is written by Lyndsey Harris (and Andrew Crofts, who I think helps edit similar autobiographical books) and was published in Feb 2007. It's a true story of a mother torn in two by parental instincts and love for her child, and the evidence and criticism from others that her own daughter was turning into a monster.
Initially Lyndsey starts by recalling her earlier years and how she came to being married with two Children, Sarah and Luke. We learn that from the earlier years, prior to her children, she gradually became friends with Tanya, who over the years, grew to be a significant role in her life. Their friendship was strengthened by the events that followed, such as Tanya's children being born and the birth of Lydnsey's own children shortly after. The two seemed to share a very close bond, always with each other, calling, going around to each others houses. I was quite jealous reading about how they were such a monumental support to each other, despite the women both being married.
Over the years Tanya confides in Lyndsey about a lot of deep dark truths that are shocking to say the least. But Lyndsey was always there to listen and support and the bond was reciprocated. The mutual trust they shared was built up through the majority of the book, with the author frequently stressing how close they both were and how supportive they were of each other.
This support was desperately needed by Lyndsey when it was her turn to truly need a friend when things started going wrong with her 6-year old daughter, Sarah. At first there were little incidents of mischief which soon grew and became out of hand. As there was no one else in the frame for the incidents (such as damage to household items like cuts in the curtains) it was assumed it must have been Sarah. Despite asking her about the incidents, Lyndsey seemed to be unable to get through to her daughter to find out why she was doing what she was. Although the little girl would admit to doing some of the things, she often said she didn't or that she didn't know why she did it.
As time went on over a period of 18 months, the incidents became more dangerous and sinister, from the cutting electrical wires, and the stealing of razor blades and her mother's anxiety pills, to putting the pills and blades in other children's drinks and coat pockets. Disturbing letters were sent to Lyndsey apprently sent by her daughter as it looked like her handwriting, and Lyndsey was torn as to why her own daughter would do such a thing. Apart from the incidents, she seemed like a loving little girl, kind and caring towards her mother and towards others. Despite Lyndsey's best efforts to talk to various psychologists, 'experts', counsellors and teachers, she could find no plausible explanation or way to stop the incidents. By the end of the 18 months she was constantly trying to surveillance her little girl and hide dangerous items from her. Other parents and teachers at the school obviously got angry to think other children could be in danger and this made poor Sarah an outcast, being rejected by friends and constantly questioned by her parents and experts.
Can you guess what the explanation was? I don't want to give it away, but I guessed what was probably happening from fairly early on. But it's a true story, and the way Lyndsey accounts what happened it's easier to understand how she wouldn't have been able to see it for herself without being able to get an outsider perspective. She was so drawn in to the events, and in writing, she draws the reader in very well.
I thought the style of writing was very easy to read and honest, with a good balance between accounting what happened and giving her subjective feelings. It was emotive without being over the top in any way and it left me feeling able to empathise with each character.
The reviews on the back include 'shocking story' (Judy Finnigan), 'unbearably sad but ultimately uplifting' and 'gripping' (Heat). I would agree with these and would definitely recommend this as an emotional and impacting read.
The RRP is £6.99 but I picked this up in my local library, it's also available on Amazon for £5.49.
Betrayed is a book written by Lyndsey Harris with the help of Andrew Crofts. She has written the book based on a true event which happened to herself.
The book starts with Lyndsey telling us about her life now and how her daughter , Sarah, would say this book is a story of 'big scary feelings'.
Lyndsey then takes us back to her childhood and tells us about her life and how she grew up in a comfortable home and was a typical teenager and moved out at the first opportunity so she could have some independence. She soon met a boy called Mike and although to start with they were friends they soon became a couple and after a time married.
Lyndsey was happily married and was working in a good job and she tells us how she found people would always go to her with their problems as she was a good listener when one day a lady named Tanya started to talk to her and ask for advise. Tanya and Lyndsey formed a very strong friendship and they were often spending all their time together. Mike and Tanya's husband also got on very well and they became a great group of friends.
In time Tanya fell pregnant and had a son and soon after Lyndsey also had a baby boy and the two ladies were always spending their time together being first time mom's. Throughout the time Tanya spend at Lyndsey's house she would off load all her troubles to Lyndsey and this seemed to make their friendship stronger. A few years later both Lyndsey and Tanya had daughters and this bought the two families even closer. The children all got on well and spent all their time playing together.
In the years that followed Tanya still continued to off load her problems to Lyndsey and at one point she even revealed a dark secret from her past. The children soon started school and were all good friends.
David, Tanya's son soon started having problems and Tanya found talking to Lyndsey helped but he soon grew out of it and then it seemed as Luke, Lyndsey's eldest would follow down the same path but it never happened so when Sarah started being disruptive and started slashing curtains and steeling, Lyndsey was very shocked.
Lyndsey found talking to Tanya helped but Tanya always seemed to have her own problems and was not very often willing to listen. Lyndsey tried to find out why Sarah was doing these things as over a few months her behaviour had gotten so bad Lyndsey sought the help of Social services but they never turned up to help and soon the school were involved as Sarah was starting to threaten her friends there. Sarah would always say she didn't know why she had done these things and she seemed to have no idea of when she had done them. Lyndsey was starting to think Sarah was mentally ill as she could not remember doing these things but Sarah had some meetings with doctors and she was found to be perfectly healthy and they could not find any problems with her.
Life for Lyndsey was getting much worse and even if she had not found anything Sarah had done that day then Tanya would find something when she would go around. Sarah was now having to be watched constantly at school as she had been threatening to hurt her friends and was taking knife blades with her in her pockets. Sarah was being checked every day before she left for school so it was a mystery as to how she would get hold of these objects.
Lyndsey and Mike's relationship was strained and Luke was also suffering at the constant arguments as he did not like conflict or problems but nothing seemed to be helping with Sarah and her behaviour seemed to be getting worse.
Would Sarah stop all this terrible behaviour or would their be another explanation for all the terrible things which were happening, could life for Lyndsey and Mike ever get back to normal?
This book had me gripped right from the start despite that fact that after the second chapter I had suspected what the outcome would be. The book has been written very well and Lyndsey talks very openly and honestly about what her family went through and how what Sarah was doing really affected them all. Lyndsey also talks openly about the depression both she and her mother had suffered and how she though it was this which had made Sarah the way she was.
I did not like Tanya very much and when I learned more about her she just seemed to be trying to make more problems for Lyndsey and especially offloading all her problems to her when she had enough on her plate. She also picked up on new things which Sarah had done which Lyndsey had not spotted which I personally though was out if order and there was no need to have mentioned them to an already stressed out lady. I also found she was too dependent on their friendship and wanted to be Lyndsey's only friend.
The book is definitely thought provoking as it shows just how friendships can not always be what they seem and how someone could suddenly change for no apparent reason and show no remorse over their actions.
There are a total of 30 chapters in the book and I was gripped to every single one of them, I read the entire book in only 3 nights, more so to reach the end to find out if my suspicions were right!
The book has won the Richard and Judy True award and I must say it does definitely deserve the award. I give credit to Lyndsey for how she has managed to write about this awful event which affected her family such a big way and how she coped during the time and has come through the other side and is a stronger person for it.
The book has a retail price of £6.99 but I got it in a set with another 2 books for £5 so do shop around for a bargain.
The book was published by Arrow books in 2006.
I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys reading true stories as this is a very gripping book.
As part of our "attempt" at recycling, myself and my work colleagues have started a book sharing scheme, as soon as we have finished with our books they get distributed between the others in our club, on the understanding that these books won't get thrown away and if possible when we have all read them, they get donated to out local hospice, situated where I work.
This is how I came across the book I will now review, I have to be truthful, I am starting to feel a little tired and almost desensitised to all the books that have flooded the market on poor children that have been beaten and some even sexually abused, I feel for these people I really do, but I feel so miserable after reading their tales, I want my reading experiences to enrich my life not make me want to slit my wrists when I'm through.
When my friend lent me this book I was a little dubious, the book is called "Betrayed" and the cover displays a little girl clutching her teddy bear, ok the signs were not looking good!
Upon explaining to my friend about my avoiding these books for a while she allayed my fears by explaining she was also tired of them and this book was completely different, ok, I thought, lets give it a go!
The story - The scene is set by the lead character Lyndsey, it starts with first meeting her husband, then her marriage to Mike.
The story takes a long time to get going, though in fairness she does need to set the scene for the reader to understand how terribly she felt after the "betrayal".
She states herself she has never been one of those women that gravitates towards female counterparts, but after meeting Tanya develops into one of the greatest friendships of her life.
Over the next fourteen years their lives run almost parallel to each other, Lyndsey sets up Tanya with a fellow work colleague Andrew, and soon after they get married.
They all rumble along perfectly, especially after the birth of there two children, this is soon where the trouble begins.
Lyndseys daughter Sarah has never given her an ounce of trouble, a model student and a perfectly pleasant child to boot, after her sixth birthday all this set to change, first it's the Christmas club money that goes missing, thinking L yndsey has the right culprit (Sarah), she assumes it's childish mischief and thinks no more of it, until things start getting destroyed.
Things start getting slashed first with a knife, then scissors, as the problem escalates things are locked away and seemingly Sarah finds more innovative ways to destroy things. When her mother Lyndsey asks her why she is doing all this, she comes up with the same answer "don't know", now feeling completely lost and pathetic as a mother Lyndsey feels she is losing the plot, how can her daughter be doing this to her, even after being faced with all the destruction, she still can't quite believe its her........
This is obviously a biographical story of "Lyndsey" and her seemingly destructive daughter, I did actually guess what was happening pretty early on, and you do feel like shouting at the book as the story seems to unravel slower than you think it should, and as sorry as I felt for the daughter I wanted to throttle the mother towards the end, as it was blatantly obvious to the reader what was happening, I don't want to spoil the ending for you so I won't go into any more detail, needless to say I think most people would have worked things out a lot sooner than she seemed to!
This book won the Richard and Judy "true" award, and is part of a box set of three, which I am currently working my way through!
This book was purchased from Asda for the sum of £7.00 for the box set, it states on the back of the book that the books are available individually for the price of £6.99 each, so she got it quite cheap.
Would I recommend this book....................... Yes, its well worth a read, I did though skip a few pages as to state how desperate the situation was at home, every episode of destruction seems to have been catalogued within this book, which makes for a very long read, or at least that's how it feels!
The ending is exceptional, even though I knew what was coming and the knowledge that they all live together as a tight family unit now, is a nice ending to the book and a tribute to how families can come together to provide the support needed.
For more information on this and other titles available visit - www.randomhouse.co.uk
Thanks for reading x