Book Club

Recently my book club read The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog and other Stories From A Child Psychiatrist's Notebook by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz.

This fascinating 2006 non-fiction publication is written by Bruce Perry, an MD and PhD. The book uses case studies of child trauma, neglect, and/or abuse to discover how children are impacted in these situations and how the mind recovers from these situations. The cases include a genocide survivor, a witness to a parent's brutal murder, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of violent families.

The most moving story for me was about a child who was left at home all day as an infant. The parents had hired a babysitter who, unbeknownst to them, took another job, but didn't want to stop getting paid to babysit. She would show up in the morning, feed and change the baby, put it in the crib and leave for another job only stopping by during her lunch break to feed and change the baby again. She would always make it back to the house before the parents came home. Not surprisingly, the child began to show signs of "failure to thrive." The parents only found out when the mother took an unexpected sick day and came home to find her child all alone. This had gone on for 18 months before the neglect was discovered.

Our discussion was rich, but partly because the content was so connected to the members of my group. We had a former child services worker who studied child development. I have family adopted out of the foster care system. And, two-thirds of the book club group also volunteers with a foster care ministry here in the Willamette Valley.

Our next read is: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The only other Hemingway I have ever read is "Old Man and the Sea" which I hated (granted it was 9th grade). I am not sure it is a good idea to dive into 400 plus pages of more Hemingway. However, at the rate spring term is going, I am not sure I will find time to read this one anyway.

So, what do you think? Have you read For Whom The Bell Tolls? Are you a Hemingway lover? Are you interested in reading The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog?

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