The Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of Damaged tells the true story of Donna, who came into foster care aged ten, having been abused, victimised and rejected by her family.
Donna had been in foster care with her two young brothers for three weeks when she is abruptly moved to Cathy’s. When Donna arrives she is silent, withdrawn and walks with her shoulders hunched forward and her head down. Donna is clearly a very haunted child and refuses to interact with Cathy’s children Adrian and Paula.
After patience and encouragement from Cathy, Donna slowly starts to talk and tells Cathy that she blames herself for her and her brothers being placed in care. The social services were aware that Donna and her brothers had been neglected by their alcoholic mother, but no one realised the extent of the abuse they were forced to suffer. The truth of the physical torment she was put through slowly emerges, and as Donna grows to trust Cathy she tells her how her mother used to make her wash herself with wire wool so that she could get rid of her skin colour as her mother was so ashamed that Donna was mixed race.
The psychological wounds caused by the bullying she received also start to resurface when Donna starts reenacting the ways she was treated at home by hitting and bullying Paula, so much so that Cathy can’t let Donna out of her sight.
As the pressure begins to mount on Cathy to help this child, things start to get worse and Donna begins behaving in erratic ways, trashing her bedroom and being regularly abusive towards Cathy’s children. Cathy begins to wonder if she can find a way to help this child or if Donna’s scars run too deep.
About the author
Cathy has been a foster carer for over 20 years, during which time she has looked after more than 70 children, of all ages and backgrounds. Cathy runs training courses on fostering for her local Social Services, and helps draft new fostering procedures and guidelines. She has three teenage children of her own; one of whom was adopted after a long-term foster placement. The name Cathy Glass is a pseudonym.
Be prepared to cry
I don't know if authors read their reviews on iTunes, but if they do I want Cathy to know that she really knows how to pull heart strings and that she makes me want to be a better person.
This book, like all of Cathy's books, isn't written with flourish. It reads almost like a loving diary entry or how a mother would tell stories about her children. I have come to love her children, both biological and fostered, just as if I know them. I hurt for them and my heart sings at their achievements. As I've read this book and Cathy's other books, I feel so involved in the lives of these wonderful kids.
I don't have children of my own (I'm only twenty-three). I live across the pond in the US, but Cathy has given me hope,laughter, tears of sadness and joy in a way that knows no borders or obstacles. I am sad to say that at this time I am not a strong enough person to do what Cathy does but she has shown me that if I can become stronger, I can receive and give more love then one heart could ever know.
Cathy, if you do read this, please know that you have given me more faith through your books than I have gotten in my whole twenty-three years. I am now one of the many who is so glad that you have given your heart to these children. There will always be a special place in my heart for Donna and all the other children. You will always have a place too. And to Donna, you keep at it! You are an inspiration to a young woman who often feels defeated by life. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees what you've achieved and is so glad for you!
The Saddest Girl in the World
A must read! Cathy Glass uncovers the horrible truth that's hidden from those that live in their safe bubble. Teachers especially need to read this for they have no clue what some of their students go home to. Thanks Cathy for inspiring me to be a better mother & teacher!