Top critical review
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Too much pointless, unrelated detail & very slow paced
on 13 November 2016
I've read quite a few of the Cathy Glass books, but they really do seem to vary in quality of the contents. Some of the stories are very moving, shocking & real eye-openers into the world of foster care, yet others seem to be mostly full of un-related, pointless detail & to be honest, boring.
I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with this particular book. So much un-necessary detail of day-to-day activities & tasks, & rather than focusing on the main story, there is too much detail of the things Cathy's children & family do & say. One thing that really irritates me is the continuous smug way Cathy seems to portray her children in these books- she talks about them as if they are these perfect little angelic children & can do no wrong, compared to the children she fosters who regularly throw tantrums, come from rough, dysfunctional families, display all kinds of bad behaviour, act like spoilt brats ect, where as Cathy comes across extremely smug about her own kids- as if her perfect little darlings would never dream of behaving badly. In particular, she seems to emphasise the things Paula comes out with- Paula is only 2 in this book yet she is apparently using words & phrases that much older children, & even adults would use! As if a 2 year old would say "Yes, it's all right, Mummy, I understand" (as she repeatedly says "sweetly" throughout the book!)
There is so much un-necessary, mundane detail repeated throughout the book. Going into almost forensic detail of how Cathy makes a cup of tea, or does the childrens bathtime, story & bedtime routine, or exact detail of what everyone says & does when Cathy's husband arrives home. It just made for very dull reading.
When I finally got to the main part of the story, I was interested (although when describing things to do with the foster childs situation & family, Cathy Glass often seems to somehow come across as rather sanctimonious & as if she herself would be appalled at the idea of herself or her family being "that way") incest alone is an extremely taboo subject- not one that is discussed pretty much at all in society, & the term "emotional incest" was something which most of us have probably never thought about or even really heard of. To put it bluntly, the word incest seems to spark thoughts of illicit sexual relationships between immediate family members. The fact that this was more of a deeply unhealthy emotional relationship between a young girl & her father (although they never had an indecent physical relationship, in every other aspect they behaved as a couple rather than a father & daughter) & it was interesting to learn about this sort of unhealthy relationship & how it worked. I found myself feeling extremely sorry for Beth (although often she did act pretty spoilt & obnoxious- the constant repeats of "I'm daddy's little princess" would get on anyone's nerves after a while) & indeed I also felt great sympathy for Beth's father, Derek. As someone who has struggled alot in the past with depression & mental health issues, it's never an easy thing to deal with. Whilst as a father, I agree that he should never have allowed his relationship with Beth to turn out the way it did, when you're struggling with your mental health, as well as trying to single-handedly raise a child who is the only person you have because the love of your life ran off & left you, & also being the the subject of spiteful playground gossip & having the stigma of being a single father to a young girl surrounding you, I can imagine for Beth's father that it all just got too much & more & more he relied on his daughter, & that in "seeing his wife in Beth" the boundaries of the relationship went completely out of the window, & that Beth came to see herself as more of an adult, wifely role rather than the normal little girl role she should have played in her father's life.
One thing that didn't seem to make much sense is the fact that once the issue had been realised, Beth suddenly became alot more accepting of Marianne & the fact that Beth needed to see herself in the proper role as a child, rather than her father's partner/wife. It often takes children many years to "unlearn" certain learned behaviour & charachteristics, & like with every Cathy Glass book, it seems that suddenly after a few weeks/months with Cathy these children are miraculously changed & now behave normally.
It also makes you wonder how these children must feel about Cathy writing & selling these books. Although yes, names, places, dates ect are changed, these subjects are also very sensitive & personal, about real children who have often experienced horrendous abuse or severe neglect throughout their lives, & there are bound to be some of them who maybe didn't want their stories shared with the rest of the world. Unfortunately nowadays, it is very easy to find out the true identity of someone, & it makea you wonder if the children in these stories may one day face backlash or find themselves in the spotlight after having their story published by the likes of Cathy Glass. If someone is determined enough, they may manage to find out the true identities of these children, & possibly use this to expose them when they don't want to be exposed! It is also Cathy Glass who profits from these books, not the children who's stories they are based on.
Overall, for this particular book I'm only giving it a rating of one star. It just didn't capture my attention as there was too much dull detail & it was extremely slow-paced, with alot of completely unrelated/un-necessary descriptions that only seemed to serve to bulk the story out as much as possible. Shame, as if it had been written better it could have been a good read