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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome error, 4 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Hidden: Betrayed, Exploited and Forgotten. How One Boy Overcame the Odds. (Paperback)
In August 2008 I ordered 'The Hidden Assassins' by Robert Wilson. The Hidden Assassins I was not pleased when the Amazon Marketplace supplier sent me a copy of 'Hidden' by Cathy Glass. Not my sort of book. When I pointed out their error they told me to keep it and immediately sent me a copy of the book I had ordered. Both books have sat unread on my shelf for 3 years until last weekend when I picked up 'Hidden'. I read the first 150 pages on Sunday night, eventually setting it down after 1.00am. I have to work!

Perhaps it is my sort of book after all. Cathy Glass knows how to tell a good story and this is a good story. We are all vaguely aware of foster-parenting going on and may even know some foster parents but I had no idea of all the extra stuff that entails - on top of the job of being a good parent. All the people who are involved in the complex system which has evolved to protect vulnerable children who are taken into care. This book was an education in the social care system and the role of (now I am going to have to say some bad words) social workers. There, I've said it. We hear and see so much about the failings and disasters of social workers and social care - I was ready for the tirade. However in this case all those in offialdom (or almost all) shine out as caring professionals who get it right. They have a lot to put up with and yet they do the job well. I wonder how many more successes there are who we never hear about.

The 'star' of the book is Tayo a 10 year old removed from the control of his mother and placed in the care of Cathy. Tayo is the 'Hidden' one and a representative of many more hidden ones. A young boy brought into the UK from Africa who after 5 years living here still does not exist in the official world. No national insurance number, no GP, no dentist, no permanent place of abode, dragged around by a drunken, drug-fuelled mother who is also Hidden. The life he lead prior to being placed in care is beyond belief, including a year working in an East London sweatshop when he was 8 years old. He lost that job when he got seriously hurt in a factory accident but even then he got no medical treatment because he was Hidden. How does this go on in Britain today?

Ultimately however this is an optimistic story of hope triumphing over great adversity and it is a gripping read. I recommend it and send my belated thanks to the book seller for that silly mistake they made three years ago. Must read 'The Hidden Assassins' some time soon too.
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