Friday, April 04, 2008

Twilight Children by Torey Hayden

From the author of the phenomenal "Sunday Times" bestsellers "One Child" and "Ghost Girl", comes a startling and poignant memoir of three people's victimisation and abuse - and their heartbreaking but ultimately successful steps to recovery, with the help of Torey Hayden, an extraordinary teacher. Two children trapped in a prison of silence and a woman suffering in the twilight of her years - these are the cases that would test the extraordinary courage, compassion and skill of Torey Hayden and ultimately reaffirm her faith in the indomitable strength of the human spirit. While working in the children's psychiatric ward of a large hospital, Torey was introduced to seven-year-old Cassandra, a child who had been kidnapped by her father and was found dirty, starving and picking though rubbish bins to survive. She refused to speak, so Torey could only imagine what she'd been through. Drake, by contrast, was a charismatic four-year-old who managed to participate fully in his pre-school class without uttering a single word. Then, there was Gerda, eighty-two, who had suffered a massive stroke and was unwilling to engage in conversation with anyone.;Although Torey had never worked with adults, she agreed to help when all other efforts had failed.

This book thoroughly surprised me. I took it from Book Club as a last resort in a month with a number of public holidays thinking if I managed to get thru the rest of my books I would give it a read. I wasn't overly enthusiastic.

But I really enjoyed it. Sadly the endings do fall a little short, mostly because of the "True Story" factor. I wanted more information on what happened eventually but sadly because it's real life, you never get the wrap-up one becomes used to in fiction. But still, reading about the process and trauma of real lives was fascinating and frightening all at once. And, I've taken another one of Torey Hayden's books for this month too :)

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