Newest Review: ... Cathy Glass has changed all the names of everyone mentioned and the places in her books. Damage follows the story of a little girls life ... more
'Heartbreaking' is an understatement
Damaged - Cathy Glass
Member Name: cazkins
Damaged - Cathy Glass
Advantages: Very well-written, thought-provoking and insightful
Disadvantages: Disturbing content regarding child abuse
I've been reading a lot of autobiographical style books lately, the 'heat-rendering' type ones, and came across this in the library as the aptly subtitled 'the heartbreaking true story of a forgotten child' caught my eye.
Damaged is written by Cathy Glass, which is a pseudonym to protect her identity. Cathy tells the true story of one particular girl, Jodie, who was placed in her care. I don't know much about fostering agencies, or the processes involved with social services, so this book was a real eye-opener, especially in light of recent cases like baby P.
Cathy had 20 years fostering experience, plus three kids; two her own and one whom she adopted after fostering her. I knew this was going to make an interesting read from early when she says of how the agency was turning to her as their best, and possibly only, chance for a girl who had already been placed with 4 different carers over the same amount of months.
I don't want to give too much away, but Cathy basically tells us of how the young girl became to be damaged, what happened in the time spent under care and what goes on behind the scenes of care agencies. 'Heartbreaking' probably isn't strong enough to describe how I felt this book to be; what happened to this poor little girl, of 8 years went she went into Cathy's care, was beyond belief. I know awful things happen behind closed doors, but I was shocked and disgraced so many times throughout this book that it was quite hard to believe it could all be true.
Jodie was already on the at-risk register before she went into care, yet remained with her parents despite so many tell-tale signs of abuse. As the story unravels, we learn of how significant the abuse was and the terrible damage it did to Jodie. It's hardly surprising she was a handful as she was dealing with so much. The consequences the abuse had on on this little girl is tragic; not only did she grow up thinking these things were normal, she believed they were signs of love and care. Whilst she was with Cathy, she also seemed to have developed multi-personality disorder, where her personality had fragmented as a way of dealing with the trauma. Her parents, who had sexually abused her for years, were found to be involved in a porn ring including 'aunts & uncles' and the list of horrific ordeals she went through is too numerous and disturbing to write here.
What was almost as shocking were the failures of the child care system who were supposed to be protecting this little girl when they knew she may be in danger, and their failures later on when placing her into foster care. Later the case goes to court and although there's some justice done and there is a glimmer of hope by the last page, I was left so angry at how unfair the whole story was.
Cathy's style of writing was excellent in my opinion. She was factual and detailed, yet managed to provoke so many emotions without making it obvious. Because it was so well writen, I found it easy to read (though the content wasn't pleasant to read) and it was definitely a page-turner. I could hardly put this book down because I wanted to know what happened next, and I felt that I gained some new perspectives and insights into child abuse, the welfare system and fostering. In fact, although handling Jodie sounded almost impossible, it made me seriously consider fostering in the future (so it must have been a very provocative book to do that!). It also shows how one persons love and perseverence can make all the difference, so in that respect it was quite heart-warming.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book. It's not a nice read by any means, but it's thought provoking, interesting and well written. It was realised 2007 and RRP is £6.99, but it can be found cheaper (eg. Amazon at £4.99).
Summary: If you want something to stir up emotions then this is it
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