Monday, February 25, 2013

Damaged by Cathy Glass

This was by far the most difficult book I've ever read in my entire life.  I knew something of what I was getting into when I requested the book, but to read the words of abuse inflicted on this precious 7 year old girl was more than I could stomach at times.  The author, Cathy Glass (her pen name), has fostered more than 100 children over the last 20 years.  And the case of 7 year old Jodie (her alias name) was by far her most challenging case ever.  There are just no words to describe the horror and sorrow I felt as I read this little girl's true story account.  I could have read this in a day, had I not had to set it aside after every 30 pages or so as a new detail of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her parents was revealed. 

How the crap are there people like that in the world? 

It's absolutely disgusting and pure evil manifested through her parents.  I was angry at her parents and all those involved and found myself wanting to track them down and make them feel the pain that they caused their very own daughter.  Ugh!

I have so much admiration for Cathy and the huge heart that she has to love the unlovable.  The emotional and physical turmoil she and her family endured to take this little girl into their home is one of the greatest acts of selflessness I've ever encountered or even heard of.  There were numerous little details that she brought to my attention when talking with young kids that helped make me more aware of why they can be grabby, angry, distant or even violent.  So many times we see a "misbehaved child" and then cast judgement on them or their parents, but not know maybe WHY that child is behaving that way.  Cathy had the patience and foresight to endure all the terrifying and violent episodes with little Jodie until she uncovered the truth of why this little girl was so broken.

Cathy Glass is a New York Times Bestselling author and has written over 15 books of the different children she's fostered at one time or another.  Her true stories are inspiring and convicting all at the same time.  A huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a complimentary copy!

Description:  Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass. At the Social Services office, Cathy (an experienced foster carer) is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months. Despite her reservations, Cathy decides to accept Jodie to protect her from being placed in an institution. Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face. As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs. Unfortunately Jodie becomes increasingly withdrawn, and it's clear she needs psychiatric therapy. Cathy urges the Social Services to provide funding, but instead they decide to take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the paedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie's future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what -- her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.

Rating: *****

Recommend:  I will say because of the nature of the sexual abuse that is described in detail in this book, I find it extremely difficult to recommend.  My mother-in-law mentioned wanting to read it and I just knew it would be more than she would want to know.  However, there is a woman I work with who I know could handle it and has read similiar memoirs, so I'll be lending her my copy. 

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