Monday, September 21, 2009

One Child (memoir)

One Child by Torey Hayden: This is the current selection of my book club; I never would have chosen such a book on my own, as it recounts the horrific abuse suffered by a six-year-old little girl who ends up in the author's special education class to await placement in a state hospital (I assume this was the technical term for nut house) after tying a three-year-old little boy to a tree and nearly burning him alive. During the five-month stay in the author's classroom, the author/teacher manages to break through this disturbed little girl's shell and make what is probably the first loving connection the girl ever experiences. It's a quick but difficult read - definitely not for the faint of heart. And although I was resistant to reading it, knowing the basis of the story, I was drawn in enough that I now want to read the sequel, Tiger's Child.


  1. I really ended up liking the book - read it in a day in fact - was compelled to see where it would go. I think for people wondering if they can read it they should know that the abuse itself was never hashed out and in fact the author notes in several instances that she really never did find out exactly what happened to make this girl act the way she did - she could only suppose - except in the one instance where an abuse incident happened in those five months she was the author's student so the author found out about it at the time first hand... so it was not as hard to read as I at first thought it might be. A tribute to the patience and faith of one person in another.

  2. I've read Tiger's Child and Murphy's Boy, both were heartwrenching and amazing. Hayden isn't a technically superb writer, but the stories she tells have touched me deeply, even now, a decade after originally reading them.

    You won't be disappointed by the sequel, I don't think.