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.
You get to be a 6-year-old kid again for one day and one day only plan your perfect 24 hours. Where do you go, what do you do, and with whom?
If I was six again I’d be happy and carefree. My life would not have any abuse in it. If I was six for one whole day I’d like to go shopping to the toystore, play with all the toys, try everything out, then have a ton of money to buy some toys. I’d go to an icecream parlour and get the person serving to make me a huge icecream, with sprinkles and other toppings on it. I’d like to be able to choose from a big pile of toppings. Then I’d go to a local park and swing high on the swings, slide down the slides, swing from the monkey bars and ride the merry go round. After that I’d like to visit my friends, and ask them if they’d like to come to my house and play, have a picnic in the garden. Then after that we’d watch movies, and that night have a sleep over with more movies and popcorn and other sweets and stuff.
At the end of our hour long appointment today we had a little bit of light chatter with Dr Barry. It went like this.
Me: When will you be going on holidays?
Dr Barry: The last week in october.
Me: Oh, and are you going anywhere nice?
Dr Barry: No, I’m just having some down time at home. Sometimes thats all you need isnt it? Some time to just chill out and do absolutely nothing.
Me: Sure, agree 100 percent!
We all need down time, dr Barry just reminded me to have mine!
So I just finished another great book by Cathy Glass. Its called the girl in the mirror. This is a novel, not a foster care memoir. It was interesting to read a novel of Cathys. I must say I didn’t find the novel as good as all of her foster care memoirs, but I did like it and I would still recommend it. The book went a little bit more slowly though and I did not find it to be a page turner.
The book is about Mandy, a 20 something who is an artist. She’s taken a career break for a year to paint more, but she seems to be having trouble painting anything. At the beginning of the book her grandpa falls ill, and her father asks her if she wants to go visit him. She goes, and ends up staying to nurse him. He’s staying with her aunt and uncle, whom she used to visit as a child regularly, but 10 years ago her parents stopped her from visiting and she doesn’t remember why. When she arrives at the house she starts having flashbacks, weird thoughts, images, etc. She cant figure out why she’s having the memories. A lot of the book focuses on her sick grandpa, and towards the end he dies, but the majority of the chapters focus on him, his illness, and on the care he is receiving from the family. In the end Mandy does remember, and when she does, she remembers vividly. She remembers being almost raped, and she thinks its her uncle that raped her. But it wasn’t, it was his brother. Before she remembers, she asks her gran, and the local shopkeeper to tell her why it is her parents and aunt and uncle stopped talking, and why it was her visits to them stopped when she was 13. But they keep telling her she’ll have to ask her father. After she remembers, she becomes very depressed, and after that, she decides to confront her uncles brother, her abuser. She searches him out, and then goes to visit him. But it turns out he’s dead. It turns out he abused not only her but his own daughter, and another friend of his daughters too. Mandy is really upset to find this out. In the end of the book she moves in with her boyfriend, whose name is Adam, and tells him of what happened to her as a child. All through the story she has mixed up feelings about touch, about adam, and she keeps giving him the cold shoulder. But he stays with her and when she tells him he’s shocked and saddened.
I did like the book despite the slowness of it. It didn’t build until near the middle of the story. But I still think it was good, I’d still recommend it to people. I do think though that Cathy is best writing memoirs and not as good at writing novels.
Well I’m still loving college. Granted things arent fully started yet, its all still the induction process, so pretty boring stuff. We havent done any course work yet. Basically all we’ve done is have a couple presentations on what the programme will look like, on the rules and regulations, and signed some documents, about our rights as students and our responsibilities and also we had to sign the internet usage policy. We also talked about misconduct, and the things that are considered misconduct and the consequences of that. We had a talk from the rehabilitation officer, the resource teacher, and the manager of the college. We have to do health and safety and manual handling which is also part of the health and safety process. The manual handling will be done tomorrow. The instructors told us today their giving us Friday off so I was delighted to hear that. Early mornings are so hard. I’m still getting used to getting up early and it hasnt fully hit me yet but I did notice I do get very tired in the evenings. I stayed behind today after class to talk to the instructor about accessibility stuff and all that hasnt been fully ironed out yet. We mostly talked about the exams and getting them in an accessible format. We talked about me possibly getting a reader to read the text in my typing timed exams, an actual reader as in a person who can do that. We also talked about me possibly having alternative questions set if there were ones I couldnt answer due to their being images etc that my screen reader wont read. I’m not worried because I know these things will be ironed out over time. As I said to the instructor today there is always a way around something, sometimes you just have to look hard to find it. I found out that when it comes to work experience we have to find our own, I was under the impression that the school would find it for us. they do help you to get your resume ready, apply for jobs, do interviews etc but they do expect that you will be instramental in finding your own placement. Again I wont worry for now, it wont be happening for another year yet. The people in my class are really nice. Everyone is friendly and they have all been really helpful to me which I am grateful for. I’m really enjoying it and long may it continue.