As Torey Hayden books go, this one was okay; it didn't tug on my heart like some others have, but it also didn't leave me emotionally exhausted. Sadly, the theme of child abuse that seems to run throughout Hayden's books is present here too, but not to the horrible levels shown in other books.
I liked most of the characters (the book focuses almost entirely on the children in Hayden's class), but I could not warm up to the aide, Julie. She and Torey had different teaching (and life) philosophies, and I could understand that. But when it came down to it, Torey was the teacher (with a graduate degree and extensive experience with children in the special education field), while Julie was her aide, her assistant. For her to simply refuse to do things Torey's way (and for the principal to have allowed it to continue unchallenged) was, to me, amazing.
These have been good books, well written, and educational for me, but I can't say that I've enjoyed them. As I said, they've almost all left me emotionally drained, where I'd need to read something light and happy to cleanse the grime away before braving another. My hat is definitely off to people like the author, as I don't think I would be able to work in similar situations for any length of time at all.
Yet another Torey Hayden book!
The first book of hers that I have read ruined my life. I am a completely different person, with completely different goals in life. And this book was no different.
I want everyone in my life to read at least one Torey Hayden book in their lifetime. The way she views children in incredible, and I can't get enough. I hope to be half the person she is someday!
The only thing I didn't like about this book was that she used the word "indeed" WAYYYY too often. It was borderline annoying.
But, I got over that because the book was just so amazing.
I was hooked the whole time. I think it gives people of any age a sense of what it is like to be "different" and to work with those folks. Good for fostering empathy for students and teachers.
Sept 23, 2014......Well it's been a long time since I have read a book by Torey Hayden, and I still find her fascinating. I'm not sure what it is about her books that hook me so. I think it is her sincerity. She is not afraid to lay out all her doubts and faults, and all the while dealing with these severely disturbed children. I mean wow. I would be a bowl of emotional jelly after spending a day in one of her classes. To go back day after day after day.....amazing. To all the Toreys out there.....I salute you! (and pray for you!)
One of my least favorite of Torey Hayden's books. It was long, slow, and frustrating! I've heard others who loved it though, so maybe I just felt frustrated by the "lack of positive results."
Fans of Torey Hayden's other tales of special ed classrooms and special students won't be disappointed in this book. Venus, mute and unresponsive is Torey's toughest child yet. She has to find a way to reach Venus while at the same time breaking up fist fights and dealing with a sometimes difficult aid. Heartbreaking, heartwarming and hilarious.
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