Book review-Girl alone by Cathy Glass

I just finished Cathy glass’s new book girl alone. It was an amazing and gripping read, as are all of Cathys books. This book told Joss’s story. Joss came to live with Cathy at age 13. 4 years previous her dad had committed suicide. Joss and her mother had come home and found his lifeless body hanging in their garage. Joss as you can imagine had not dealt with this and as a result was doing lots of unsafe things, such as drinking and smoking canibas. Her mother Linda has since remarried, and Joss did not get along with her stepfather Eric and there had been lots of arguments at home resulting in Joss being taken into care. In the beginning when Joss comes to Cathy she has attitude, and continues to act out and do unsafe things. Cathy regularly tries to talk to her to make her see sense but it does no good. A contract of behaviour is drawn up but it is very lax and Joss is allowed to stay out late which Cathy doesnt agree with. However her social worker is young and naive and tries to be Joss’s friend, rather than her social worker. Joss hangs around with older girls, and doesnt do her school work so is behind at school. Then the school inform Cathy that Joss is being collected in a car by two older men. We come to find out the men are Zack, her friend Chelseas uncle, and Carl his friend. Joss lies to Cathy a lot and Cathy begins to wonder if she’ll ever be able to get through to her. Then an incident happens where Cathy goes to Chelseas flat and finds a party going on, lots of young teens smoking and drinking and when she goes upstairs to find Joss she finds her with Chelsea and Chelseas father in the bedroom. After Cathy takes Joss home and tries to talk to her but Joss becomes hostile and tells Cathy she is ruining her life. A week later Joss goes out for an evening and comes home and discloses to Cathy that Zack has raped her. A police investigation ensues. Then Joss makes more disclosures, this time about Eric her moms husband and her stepfather. She tells Cathy that Eric has sexually abused her. At first her mom doesnt believe Joss and sides with Eric. Eventually Joss’s social worker goes to visit her mom and brother Kevin and Kevin is interviewed and he also discloses abuse by ERic. So the social workers say that Kevin has to come in to foster care. However before he does Linda their mother runs away with him and ends up at her parents house. She is distraught and very upset. She tells her parents that she’s left Eric because she realises now that he did abuse her kids, something Kevin told her led her to finally believe him and Joss. Linda becomes very depressed and Joss and Cathy are afraid she is going to kill herself too like her husband. Joss’s grandparents fight for kevin and Joss to live with them permanently and Kevin does, but Joss stays with Cathy and sees her family at weekends. After a couple months of this arrangement her grandparents threaten social services with court action if they dont make a decision so it is decided that Joss and Kevin can live with their grandparents full time. Joss, Kevin and their mom live with their grandparents for another year after Joss eventually moves back to live there. Eventually after a year linda is deamed well enough to parent her children again. The book was shocking in so many places. Its heartbreaking in other parts, it is deeply moving and a testiment to the resilience and determination of children who have survived awful tragedies. After disclosing the abuse joss’s behaviour drastically improves, she’s like a totally different child. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fostering, social work, or any abuse survivor. You wont be able to put it down.

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