Somebody Else’s Kids – Torey Hayden
An acquaintance of mine loan me this book, claiming I had to read it as it’s one of her all-time favourites. A lot of people tend to lend me novels for they know I love reading and I can never be nasty and say I already have enough books, thank you very much. I meekly accept it and grudgingly walk away. I know how much it bothers me when I borrow a must-read book to a friend and they take eons to read it – I become annoyed and eventually ask them to return it, vowing never to offer my books again!
So here I was with a book I had no desire to read, compelled to finish it for I needed to give it back as soon as possible, my shelf of unread books glaring at me with disdain as I paged through it. The blurb at the back revealed the Author, Torey Hayden as an educational psychologist and a special needs teacher who chronicles her struggles in the classroom. Her novels have become best sellers.
I started reading this book when I flew down to see my Dad when he was still alive and in hospital. This was a very traumatic time for me and I attempted to read it to take my mind off the hopelessness I felt.
This is a true life story of Torey heading a resource classroom in a district school, receiving four special needs children nobody else could deal with. Boo is a severely autistic seven year old who lives in his own world. Lori, also seven, a beautiful young girl who was severely abused as a child resulting in brain damage, hampering her reading abilities. Ten year old Tomaso witnessed his stepmother shoot his father and brother and is filled with anger and hatred. Claudia is a twelve year old who had to leave her private catholic school when it was discovered she was pregnant.
I have to commend Torey Hayden on her utter devotion, patience, belief and untainted love for the children under her care. Her job isn’t easy and yet she remained determined to educate them, instil unconditional love and respect, assisting them to thrive and find joy in her class.
Torey Hayden is a talented wordsmith. You can feel the passion she has for these children and you cannot help but admire the bond she forms with them. However, there were times when I didn’t agree with her methods and felt she could’ve been more assertive to the educators and learning system in general. The novel was slow moving and I really had to buckle down to finish it as it became disheartening and I couldn’t predict a happy ending.
I didn’t particularly love this book and it’s not the kind of genre that appeals to me. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate the Author’s work. The question is whether I would read another Torey Hayden novel – no, it’s just not my cup of tea!