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The Tiger's Child - Torey L. Hayden

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      23.09.2010 21:36
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      A compelling sequel to 'One Child'

      Tigers Child - Torey Hayden

      Tiger's Child is one of Hayden's only sequel books in her collection. Her first book, 'One Child' followed the story of Sheila, a young disturbed little six year old girl as she entered Torey's classroom for special children after committing a serious crime against another young child. For a more detailed review on this book, please see my previous review. 'Tiger's Child' is the sequel to 'One Child' and having only just read the prequel, I was full of expectations. 'One Child', although deeply disturbing in parts, was probably one of Hayden's best stories in the sense of her writing style and people involved in the story. I found myself emotionally moved by Torey, Sheila and other people it spoke about and looked forward to reading on from this great story. I say a great story in terms of how well it is written and how well it captivated me, though knowing all Hayden's stories are based on real experiences, it also makes her stories very emotionally heightened especially as they focus upon young children.


      *********************
      TIGER'S CHILD
      *********************

      In 'One Child', six year old Sheila was abandoned by her mother on a highway when she was only four years old. A survivor of horrific abuse, she never spoke or cried. After committing a terrible act of violence towards another young child, Sheila was sent to a special class while awaiting a place at a secure hospital. With patience and love, Torey was able to break through to Sheila and fought long and hard to help her overcome her many problems. 'Tiger's Child' takes place seven years later with Sheila being a gangly teenager who is no longer broken and lost, yet still very troubled and searching for answers.

      I would certainly recommend reading 'One Child' before reading this sequel so that you understand everything about what is happening, though Hayden does include an extensive recap on the previous story, pin-pointing all the important aspects of what occurred in the five months they were together before. This recap runs for fifty odd pages so is rather long and takes up the full section of part one of the book. The book is set in three parts with the main part of the story sitting in the second longest part. As I had only just read 'One Child', I found myself skimming through this first part as a lot of it was word-for-word with sections of the first book and it was already very fresh in my memory. Even if I had not just read the book, I had found it so powerful that I do not think I would have needed to read such an extensive recap no matter how long ago I had read it.

      The name; 'Tiger's Child', although not overly important for understanding the story, comes from 'One Child' where Sheila and Torey read a book where Sheila associates herself as a Tiger cub. This is just one tiny thing in which falls from one book to another. A lot of references from the first story is bought up in memories from both main characters in this book, and the way it is all linked in to this second story is brilliantly timed. It made me wonder why Hayden had never liked the thought of writing follow up stories of her children as being able to read further and see how Sheila's life had progressed and changed was great.

      The main story setting for the middle part of the book took place in a summer school run by Torey and her co-worker, to which Sheila was invited to help out. This was a wondrous piece of writing, even if it was a true story. To see Sheila in a similar setting to which we were accustomed to with her in the first book, though this time as a teenager helping out, was a mark of genius. It really helped see the story from two points of view and was able to capture the 'magic' of Sheila and Torey in a much greater level. Unlike most of her other books, though, the setting does not only stay in one place completely. Within this book, as the relationship between Sheila and Torey is already established and is at a more relaxed stage than child/teacher, the story setting progresses much like an every day life story from such places as Torey's home, the mall, bowling, restaurants and so forth. For some reason, this seemed to really help with the flow of the story - perhaps due to the familiarity of all of the places. Whatever the reason, I felt drawn to this fact and felt it helped make the story into more of a whole.

      Going back to the setting in the summer school for a moment. Although the story was about Torey and Hayden, their lives and relationship, it also covered 'mini-stories' of other people such as the children in the school setting. One in particular became prominent to the story due to the similarities to Sheila from the previous book. Again, I felt that this was extremely well written and helped to boost certain aspects of the story, and even to a small degree, aided understanding of Sheila herself. It was really lovely to see Sheila on the other side of the fence like this. If this had been a one-off book then I do not think it would have had such a great impact, though as it is a continuation from when Sheila was a young child, I felt that it was a perfect way to see how her character had progressed.

      All the 'characters' (and I use this term loosely as each 'character' is based on a real person with real stories) are very well explored, not just Torey and Sheila. I really felt as though I knew most of the people in the book, especially the young children in the summer school. A couple of people within this book also feature in another of Hayden's books which I have read, 'Silent Boy', and are more explored in this other book. This may prove a little frustrating for those who have not read any of Hayden's other books, though for me I was able to link the two books together and piece together the missing parts about the 'characters' in this book through this means.

      Although this story follows the story of Sheila to a large part, it also explores Toreys own vulnerable side in conjunction with Sheila in a very large way. It seems that the two are joined in ways that did not seem possible as they have completely different backgrounds and are years apart in age, yet their relationship really moves the story along well and also moves me in an emotional way. There is a lot of pain within the pages of the story yet there is an awful lot of love too, making this a well balanced read.

      There were a few parts to the story which did start to read a little like a research document, though unlike other books, this one kept this style of writing to a minimum much to my happiness. I felt in other books that this style took my concentration away from the main story and so therefore without this hindrance I found myself being able to read through the story easily and not needing to break so much to gather my thoughts.

      Hayden writes exactly how a person speaks and sometimes this can become a little difficult to read steadily. I was used to this by this point from reading a few other of Hayden's books, especially in 'Tigers Child' prequel where Sheila's vocal ability is not as progressed as a usual child of that age. At first I found this off-putting, though soon became used to it and now I feel that without it, I would not have found Sheila a whole 'character'. By using her real speech pattern, the story made even more sense.

      There is more blunt language in this book than in the last, especially coming from teenager Sheila's mouth. Quite a bit of swearing pops its head within her speech and some very blunt sexual talk, though it is used within reason and not shoved in your face too much which is good.

      As already mentioned, there are three parts to this book with the first being an extensive (and slightly monotonous) re-cap of 'One Child' and the second being the main bulk of the story. The third part jumps a number of years forward due to the time scale that Sheila and Torey did not see one another. This, I think, worked well as a three-part story due to the time jumps. The third section, although continues with the steady flow, takes on a much deeper view possibly due to Sheila being that much older and starting to come to terms with her life. This then leads on to the ending of the story which in some ways reads as a perfect ending to a fictional story, though still keeping to the reality of the book. It is completely well rounded off and everything is tied in perfectly. The ending even bought a small tear to my eyes, though this time in happiness.


      ************************
      FINAL WORDS
      ************************

      Straight away I found myself immersed in this story. Knowing it was based on real events made it that much more powerful and emotional and the fact that it was a sequel to a story I had only just read and loved really helped. It was not a story in which I had to have tissues handy, though it sure does set a lump in the throat especially near to the end. I think what made this story much better than the other ones of Hayden's I have read was the fact that it was not just focused upon one person, yet on many, just like its predecessor. I could hardly put this book down, which is a difficult thing to do with a two year old running around the house!

      The RRP of the book is £5.99 which is well worth it. Again, with my bargain hunts I was able to pick up this book with the previous book for only £2.00 which was even better!

      Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!

      A/N: Sensitive subjects Abuse, Neglect, Sexual Topics

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        03.11.2009 23:50
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        Recommended

        The Tiger's Child continues the story of 'Sheila' - an abandoned and abused child who had been placed within Hayden's class when she was six years old. Torey Hayden manages to track down Sheila seven years later and this book tells the story of their reunion and enables readers to find out what happened within those seven years and how Sheila's life has turned out.

        It's an interesting one really, it's fact based and so feels unkind to criticise it in any way but I found it less engrossing than 'One Child' but perhaps that is down to my own 'happy ever after' expectations. It's quite a real lesson to readers about the impact of abuse many years down the line and how children can be let down by systems and bureaucracy. Sheila is initially portrayed, I felt, unsympathetically as an insolent teenager but slowly Hayden peels back layers within the book to reveal the pain and hurt that still haunts Sheila.

        What Hayden does deal with very well within the book is expressing how she herself had to come to terms with her own impact on Sheila's life and that by leaving to teach elsewhere compounded Sheila's feeling of abandonment. It isn't sugar coated and therefore makes the book very poignant to the reader.

        What I also liked was the subtle humour within the book. There are moments that make you smile, like Hayden's descriptions of Sheila's interesting dress sense and obsession with burgers.

        I am glad to know how Sheila's life had mapped out. You do get a sense of that Sheila is empowered to take charge of her life and make her own choices that will give her a better chance of happiness in the future. Hayden's dedication and patience with regards to Sheila is inspiring.

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        15.08.2009 01:35

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        finished reading tigers child last night that poor girl she didnt deserve it she was so young and had nobody to trust apart from torey who was always there for her after i finished it i balled my eyes out its a very deppressing book that i recomend 2 anyone tigers child by torey hayden and its based on a true story at least somebody was there 4 her it makes me so sad and angry to know that its true

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        06.01.2009 01:00
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        Recomended read

        I would like to start by saying that I am a huge fan of Torey Hayden!

        I have read many of her books and cannot fault a single one.

        Her very first book 'One Child' was a huge success and so she wrote the book I am reviewing 'Tiger's Child' as a follow up.

        As this book is the follow up to 'One Child' I would recomend reading the first one before this one otherwise it won't make a lot of sense.

        Torey Hayden has wrote many many book about her time working as a special needs teacher and she really is an amazing writer.

        She writes about her struggles and her successes in a honest and open way that leaves you captivated to the very end.

        This book is about a girl called Sheila who has had a terrible childhood that most of us couldn't even imagine. As a result Sheila is an extremely disturbed child needing a lot of help.

        One day she ends up in Torey's class and despite Torey's best efforts she just cannot break through the defences that Sheila has spent many years building up in order to protect herself.

        Torey determined not to give up tries everything she can think of until one day the matter is taken out of her hands and the school decide to transfer Sheila for the safety of the other pupils.

        Torey is devastated and although she loses touch and has no clue where Sheila is she never forgets her and is very suprised when several years later she comes across Sheila again.

        Sheila is now a teenager and still just as a disburbed but in a more sinister way then ever.

        She seems to remeber Torey as this awfull teacher trying to make her do things she didn't want and cannot understand that Torey just wanted to help her.

        Her life since leaving Torey hasn't improved much and although she may look tough on the outside she is still a frighened little girl hiding under the heavy make up and orange hair.

        Torey not being one to give up easilly does all she can to help Sheila and slowly she begins to come around.

        This is the truely inspirational story of a very brave young girl trying to do the best she can with the cards she was dealt in life.

        It will have you laughing, crying, gasping in astonishment and pleading with Sheila to just try and understand.

        It is quite funny at times with a sarcastic humour that can only come from teenagers such as Sheila.

        I would recomend this book to anyone as I would all of Torey Hayden's books. She is my favourite writer of all time and if you havn't yet read one of her books you don't know what your missing out on.

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          19.10.2008 22:46
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          It's not one I'd read again, but I don't regret reading it. Up to you whether you wanna give it a go

          Torey Hayden is a special needs teacher/psychologist (?) and her books are memoirs based on true life experiences.
          This book is a follow up to Hayden's first book, One Child.
          Tiger's Child picks up a few years after One Child, where the troubled little girl (Sheila) appeared to be on the road to recovery thanks to Torey. However, Sheila is now an angry teenager, and Torey must once again struggle to help her.
          This book is quite a good read I admit, but I didn't enjoy it as much as it's prequel...I cant' quite put my finger on why... I dont think it was as fast paced as One Child (At times I found it a bit of a struggle to keep going) but it is interesting nonetheless.
          I thik it's a bit more psychological than One Child aswell, and there are times when you are genuinly sympathetic for both Torey and Shiela as some of the horrors of her past are revealed, and the frustration as Torey tries to help her.
          If you liked One Child then this is worth a look.

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            08.02.2008 13:04
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            A good book which captures the story without exploiting it.

            Since David Pelzer published his gruelling A Child Called It, he has since gone on to spawn 2 follow ups, as well as a self help book, and a myriad of similar material from various authors. His own brother has even cashed in on his success with a similar (if not better written) version of the events that took place in the Pelzer household.

            As well as the autobiographical, we also have various collections told from the point of view of bystanders - ranging from social workers, to family friends. They come with mixed results. Many are so badly written they are virtually unreadable. Some are gratuitious. And then there are the one's that are just trumpet-blowing of the highest order, a need for a pat on the back from those do-gooders who want to let the world know just what good people they are. If they earn a little cash on somebody else's misery, then all the better.

            Torey Hayden's One Child was one of the better one's, fortunately. She didn't need a pat on the back. She stuck to the facts and actually presented an insightful view of a disturbed child's world. Sheila was the child who the authority's wanted to wash their hands of after she burned another child so badly he was scarred for the rest of his life. But Torey saw a way of getting through to this abused and unwanted child, and by nurturing her in the classroom as well as extending the hand of friendship, she was able to make progress with a child that initially seemed unreachable.

            In this volume, much of the events of the first book are condensed into a lengthy, and virtually unneccessary prologue. Very few people would be reading this sequel, had they not had some insight into the existing story through reading the first book. So its a painstaking ordeal to actually get to the new material. But once it does, its business as usual.

            Sheila is now a teenager. And although she has put the abuse she suffered behind her, she still has issues adapting to society, and this comes through in her behaviour. Torey hasn't seen her in a few years, but when she catches up with her, she reaches out to her again and offers her a new life line. Torey involves her with her treatment of some elderly patient's, who Sheila instantly feels a kinship with. They are after all abandoned and lonely, living in a shell-like-world where they sink into themselves. Sheila knows all too well about that world, as she once inhabitated a similar existence herself.

            Sheila, naturally, isn't the real name of the person who Torey writes about, that has been changed to protect the girl. But most of the other facts have been preserved in Torey's various documents and video recordings. Torey is an excellent writer, ably describing events and people in very descriptive manners. She's also able to get to the psychological elements of her subject matter in a clear way that Joe Bloggs can understand.

            Torey's subject matter in many of her books is elective mutism. This book covers that to a lesser degree in the adults that Torey works with. But the story focuses mainly on the re-formed relationship between the teacher and her former pupil. The relationship sometimes veers off into the dangerous, with some of the frustrations Torey felt the first time rearing its ugly head.

            The result though is an insightful book that allows readers to catch up with real life characters that were already established. And for the occasional new reader, it has a lengthy (although frustrating for readers familiar with the first book) opening bringing events up to date from the earlier entry. The psychology is present throughout, but doesn't alienate readers who might not be familiar with that element of the story.

            What Torey also does very well is keep the emotional aspect of the story to a minimum. You can certainly feel her own frustrations and anxiety's, but she also gets across Sheila's without making her too much of a sappy victim. Sheila is a spirited girl, and that is very obvious throughout Torey's description of events. And the sad element of the story is patently obvious, but neither Torey nor Sheila appear to wallow in it, and thats what makes this collection of books stand out from the rest of the true story's that saturates the market over the past few years.

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              12.07.2007 15:24
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              It's about a teacher and a child. True story.

              'Tigers Child' written by the great Torey Hayden.

              Torey is a special needs teacher and psychologist, her stories are true and based on troubled children she comes into contact with via the classroom.
              'Tigers Child' is the follow on to 'One Child' which I have written a brief review on.
              My husband bought this book for me so I'm not sure how much it cost and where he got it from(probably WHSmiths),but the rrp is £5.99.
              It's quite tricky written a review on these kinds of stories without giving to much away.
              'Tigers Child' does tend to repeat itself from 'One Child' but I don't mind this,it's more like a refresher to help you remember Shelia's and Toreys background.
              The story is set seven years later when Shelia comes back into Toreys life and is needing her help and guidance again.
              Shelia is now a teenage with masses of orange hair,but no longer troubled like she had been in 'One Child' although she is still searching for some answers.Torey has her work cut out to help Shelia,but this time it is to help her with her teenage years and make her way through to womanhood.
              I found this book really enjoyable,although not as good as 'One Child' it is still a remarkable read.

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                21.04.2006 21:51
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                A good sequel once it gets started!

                Tiger's Child
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                This is the follow up true story of the life of Sheila Renstad, whom Torey Hayden wrote about in the book "One Child" A book which I've already reviewed and was also made into a film "Untamed Love" ….also reviewed by me, (shameless plug LOL)

                In this book, the first few chapters are dedicated to telling us the abbreviated version of One Child, so if you haven't read that you get to know quite a bit about it, but in my opinion you really should read the first book before this…….. I found the fact that Hayden repeated most of that story over the course of the first four chapters quite irritating to be honest as I had not long finished the first book and so I knew the story!

                Anyway the story picks up 7 years later, Torey having left teaching to further her own learning, she took a doctorate in special education and eventually went to work in a psychiatric clinic dealing with children with special needs, Where she worked alongside the highly intelligent but incredibly funny Jeff, who was in his last year of training to be a fully fledged child psychologist! Jeff was very into Freud's theories and would constantly quote him. Which if it hadn't been for his innate sense of humour would have been very annoying!

                Over the years Torey has worried about Sheila who she had, on and off been trying to locate, unsuccessfully……She eventually catches up with her when she is almost 14 yrs old and has bright orange hair and a sense of style all of her own!

                Sheila has been in and out of foster homes over the years since leaving Torey's class and is still a very confused and unhappy child, her father has been in and out of prison for various offences, but now claims to be on the straight and narrow and it seems that way too.

                Sheila doesn't seem to remember much from her childhood, it seems as if she has blocked it all out, but Torey finds this upsetting and so tries once again to help her. She shows Sheila the manuscript for the book she has written about her, at this point the book hasn't been printed as she needs the permission of Sheila for this. Sheila is astounded that this is how her life was, and asks a lot of questions about it. She believes Torey embellished a lot of the facts to make herself look good, but this isn't true, Sheila just seems to have blocked a lot out.

                Torey and Jeff set up a summer camp so they can spend more than their usual hourly blocks with their patients, as they feel they will benefit more from seeing them on a more regular basis……..They have the help of Miriam a qualified teacher, and Torey asks Sheila if she would like to help out, for a small wage.

                I don't want to give away anymore of the story, I know it appears I've written a lot about it but this is really only the background information needed to build the story up. Through this book we see Torey and Sheila progress through mountains of emotions and things happen which help them both to see the past as it was………and to help them bnoth come to terms with things and try to look at the future too.



                My opinion
                ~~~~~~~~~~

                Whilst this is still a good book, it lacks the draw that One Child had for me, The fact that the first four chapters alone are basically repeating that first book spoiled it for me, this could have so easily been summed up in a prologue and by referring the reader to the first book. I felt that this was not really necessary!

                In the first book, it ends on a sort of high note leaving the reader thinking there may have been a happy ending, but in reality there has been no happy ending so this book gives us the truth as to what has happened to Sheila over the years and how her disturbed childhood led her to become the teenager she has become, there is a lot of raw emotion in the book, which touches at the old heart strings, there is also a fair bit of swearing in the book as Sheila seems to try to shock Torey, but this seems to fit and isn't put there gratuitously. It is amazing to see how she has turned out and because you know what has shaped her past you really feel an empathy towards her, she is still crying out for help, and Torey feeling guilty that she is somehow part of her traumatic past has to help again.

                It shows how hard things are for Torey too, and in the first book you don't really get to see that, you see her emotions and stuff but not really the REAL Torey….as you do in this one. You see her faults, strengths and weaknesses and it helps you also to relate to her as well as Sheila!

                My one pet niggle is how involved Torey gets with Sheila, she lets her professional life interfere with her personal, and this is something that is usually unadvisable when working with any child....

                I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed One Child, and If you have read that book then you'd be better skipping chapters 1 - 4! But as a stand alone book this works quite well because you have the summary of it so you could still read this without having read the previous!

                I bought my copy from Amazon for £3.99 (RRP £5.99)

                ISBN 0-00-720697-6

                Paperback 359 pages

                Published by HarperElement 2005
                First published by Avon Books (US) 1995


                Thanks for reading

                Michelle x

                **The ratings I have given below show that I did indeed prefer the first book more, but it is still a pretty compelling read and only took me less than a week (during my holiday break) to get through this! 4 stars too because of the first four chapters!**

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