Making parenting mistakes since 2008

Category — books

Too Hurt to Stay, a book review

I was asked recently to review the book To Hurt to Stay by Casey Watson, when it arrived I started to read it as and then I got distracted not because it wasn’t good but because life just gets in the way of my reading time.

When I was asked to read the book I was given this quote from the publisher

Eight-year-old Spencer takes himself to social services and demands to be taken into care. It’s a desperate act, a cry for help, but his parent’s reaction – good riddance – speaks volumes. Casey’s hackles are immediately up for this poor child.

Spencer is the middle child of four siblings. His parents claim all their other kids are ‘normal’ and that Spencer was born ‘vicious and evil’. Casey and her family are disgusted – kids aren’t born evil, they get damaged. Although when vigilante neighbors start to take action and their landlord threatens eviction, Casey is stretched to the limits, trying desperately to hold on to this boy who causes so much pain and destruction.

Casey is determined to try and understand what Spencer is going through and help him find the loving home he is so desperately searching for. But it’s only when Spencer’s mother gets in touch with social services for the first time that gradually everything starts to make sense.

As soon as I read that I knew that this was a book I could read, a book I would understand, a book I could relate to.

It took me a while to get back  to reading it but when I picked it up again I dove in and was quickly reminded of the fact that this book could be the story of one of my sons, in fact it could be the story of so many children I know. Children who were hurt by people who should love them, people who should protect them and instead do unspeakable things to them. Trauma, abuse and neglect affect every aspect of a child’s life and in this book the author does not hold back and lets the reader know just how very hard it can be to care for these very challenging children.

Casey Watson tells the honest truth about what this life like. She is honest and candid about how others react to our children and about some the fantastic stunts they can pull while no one is paying attention. Young Spencer makes my kids look like angels.

Although Casey Watson is a therapeutic foster parent and not an adoptive parent she understands first hand what the journey of loving a child who does not want to be loved is like. I will be searching out some of her other books as there is a great deal of comfort in knowing that I am not alone.

May 10, 2013   No Comments

A Review for Diary of a Submissive

This book and I had a love hate relationship. I signed up for this review with an open mind even though I knew that this was not the sort of book I would normally purchase. I have not read any of the current popular novels that this book has been compared to nor am I a big fan of the romance novel. I am an open minded person and given that this book was written in the first person and a memoir I thought I might enjoy it.

The subject matter was a little outside my realm of daily interactions, I am not into the dominant/submissive realm of sexuality but I found reading about it a bit intriguing,  I can not for the life me understand why anyone would want that type of a relationship but that’s ok, there are a lot of things I do not understand.

As I read I found myself wanting to put the book down time and time and again. Just when I thought she was going to stand up for herself and tell the other person to stop the opposite would happen. It was hard for me to read a number of passages because I just found what she was enduring to be overwhelming on so many levels.

I can’t say I would recommend the book but it did open my eyes to a world I knew very little about.

Check out the BlogHer Book Club page here

This is a compensated review but the words and thoughts are all mine.

October 23, 2012   1 Comment

The Book of Jonas

In the opening chapters of this fabulous debut novel by Stephen Dau we meet Jonas, a boy who has survived the trauma of war in the country of his birth. His family was killed and so with the aid of a humanitarian program he finds himself living in America with  foster family of sorts but carrying with him the trauma of living in a country in a war, as well as dealing with the challenges of being a teenager in a foreign country.

Dau does a fantastic job of describing Jonas’ pain and emotion as he struggles to find his way. With the help of Paul, his therapist and Rose the mother of the solider ( Christopher) who helped Jonas during the war, we begin to understand what happened to Jonas and why his grief is so profound. There were moments in this book where I was amazed at how real and raw the emotion was. The effects of grief and PTSD are profound, Dau clearly understands and  does and excellent job of portraying the reality of Joan’ life to the reader.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in a thought-provoking read about the realities of life after war.

This is a paid review  for BlogHer Book Club, all opinions expressed are my own. If would like to participate in an on-line discussion of the book, please go to BlogHer’s Book Club site.

April 22, 2012   No Comments

The Magic Room – A Book Review

The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffery Zaslow is a book about the journey of woman to the altar, a journey that is uniquely different for each woman whose story is told in the book. Zaslow does an excellent job of weaving together the story of of bride’s and the generations of woman who have run the legendary Becker’s Bridal in a small town in Michigan.

As I read this book I could not help think of my own wedding dress experience, of my mother who spent time with me searching for the perfect pattern so she could sew my dress just as she had for my sister. That journey to the perfect dress for ones wedding day is a special one regardless of how the the dress is found. My dress still hangs in my closet, I love it and hope one day to make it into another dress for child I love.

As much as I loved this book, the wide variety of stories in it and the all the different traditions they represented, I was left wondering why Zaslow choose to represent such a narrow section of North American weddings. Weddings are no longer just a about heterosexual women walking down the aisle after waiting their whole lives to find the perfect man or remarrying after that perfect mans dies. Weddings are about 2 people, regardless of their gender, making a commitment to one another, a point that Zaslow missed entirely.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of The Magic Room and was compensated for this review, but these opinions are entirely my own.

December 29, 2011   2 Comments

Lunch Wars

I just finished reading Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa and to brutally honest I was astonished at what I read. I live in Canada in a province that recently passed a law that means school can only have a minimal amount of  junk food in their cafeterias, a law that says that even pizza needs whole wheat crust and low sodium sauce. It is a step in the right direction even though it does not solve all our food problems it puts us miles ahead of what I read about in Amy’s book.

I had no idea that schools in America where allowed to serve children the amount of processed, packaged, fried, sodium laden food that they do. The only thing I knew about American school cafeterias was what I saw on Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution and I must admit that I thought a lot of it was just reality TV taking something small and making it huge. I have learned that this is not the case, that the reality is that thousands of children everyday are eating food that I would not feed to my pets.

I believe passionately in the expression “you are what you eat”, I think this even more true for children.  I believe that kids behaviour is effected by the food they eat and that it is really tough for kids to learn if their bellies are not full of food that is going to give them the energy they need to get through the day. I believe that food should as often as possible be locally sourced and organic. I feed my kids this way ( we pack lunches) and if my school was feeding my children I would expect that they were doing the same.

If you are a parent or and educator who wants to help change the way schools feed children Lunch Wars and Two Angry Moms is an excellent place to start.  Not only does in provide concrete facts about what American children are eating but it also has fabulous suggestions about how to begin to get things to change and shares examples of others who have begun to make those changes in their communities.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own


October 7, 2011   1 Comment

Reading and Reviewing

As I began to read The Kid I had an idea of what to expect, after all I had read Push many years ago and remembered that Sapphire writes with honesty and a commitment to sharing the reality that some people live. I had braced myself for some of it to be hard to read, for the themes to be overwhelming at times and although it was, I also found myself not wanting to put it down. I got lost in the story again and again wanting to know what would happen next and how could all of this possibly contained within one book….

To read the rest head over to the BlogHer Book Club

July 21, 2011   No Comments