44 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Oh, boy, where to start with this book? It's so bad in so many different ways that I'm having a hard time choosing my words for this review. If pressed for a quick summary, I'd have to call it "Debbie Macomber meets Ann Rule."
I chose the book - unwisely not checking the author out first, or I would have avoided it - because I'm interested in social science and psychology, and I thought it might be an interesting "case study" type of book. Instead, it's a highly manipulative, corny, simplistic story, told in a novel format rather than a documentary one, of a young boy who enters the UK foster care system due to severe behavioral issues. Apparently author Watson is a long-time foster parent who supplements her income by churning out these potboiler books about her charges, with the names changed, of course.
The youngster, Spencer, is eventually diagnosed sociopathic (which I saw coming a mile away) and his family life is revealed. Watson makes a lot of assumptions about the family based on very little evidence and I kept thinking, where is the UK equivalent of Child Protective Services? If the mother's an alcoholic and the father's abusive, why are their other four kids left with them? Why does a supposedly experienced foster parent keep giving Spencer so much latitude, even to the point of her neighbors signing a petition to get her kicked out of her rental home because of his outrageous and dangerous behavior? She comes across as dumb and easily manipulated by an 8-year-old kid. The epilogue of the book is so ridiculous it made me really angry (more about that in a minute).
The only answer I have is that this book - there are 3 or 4 others as well - isn't meant to enlighten us about the foster care system or help us learn anything about troubled children or budding criminals. There's no analysis of the system, no insight into the nature versus nurture argument on whether children can be "born bad", no psychological study of whether a young child with sociopathy can be turned around. It's meant for readers who are looking for a quick tearjerker and a happy ending. Nothing in it feels real or rings true, and the novelistic style does not serve the subject matter at all. In fact, it lessens the impact of the story, since the author is constantly taking cigarette breaks and describing in loving detail whatever meal she's fixing for the young sociopath, whenever he may be brought back by the local police, since he's run away again. This kid steals from the neighbors, tries to drown another child, and kills his family pet, but she just keeps cranking out the stew and dumplings like it's no big deal, boys will be boys. The book is also annoyingly heavy on end-of-chapter teasers such as "...in taking on Spencer we'd hardly scratched the surface" or "It wasn't a nightmare I'd just woken up from...it was all too real..."
And the epilogue...which just blew me away. So Spencer's mother leaves his father (who's revealed NOT to be his father after all; apparently mom had a bit on the side at one point), goes to the UK equivalent of AA, moves in with her sister, and takes Spencer and the two younger kids with her. And now, three years later, Spencer's doing just fine! He reluctantly underwent six months of therapy and is trying to keep out of trouble! A great student and all-around happy camper. Mother love triumphs! See, all you have to do is get rid of that pesky, abusive pseudo-dad, get off the sauce, show your child some attention, and you cure sociopathy! Really? Wow! We should try that here.
Seriously, folks...people do not get over being a sociopath. I would be very surprised if this kid's story ended this way. But that wouldn't be the ending her readers are looking for. I'm disgusted with the author for suggesting that this child's problems were solely a matter of acting out because he wasn't happy at home due to issues with the parents, and that simply removing him from there "cured" him. The behavior she describes throughout the book is pretty disturbing, and her constant mantra that "love conquers all" is not only naïve - it's stupid. This book is also stupid. I'm somewhat shocked at the number of 5-star reviews of this author's works - all I can say is that people must like a sob story and must not be very discriminating in what they choose to read. And since they seem to like it so much, they will be glad to hear that Watson's next book is on its way, according to the last line of the epilogue.
As a side note: if you want to check out what really happens to troubled kids - at least in the US - check out Edward Humes' No Matter How Loud I Shout.