What would you do to save a child? A child with an addicted mother, a brutal father and a future of abusive horror and neglect awaiting her/him moves into the house next door to you. You hear the cries, you hear the thumps, you see the scars, you witness the abuse. You ring the authorities each time it happens, over and over - all to no avail. Would you whisk the child up into your arms and run? If the authorities won't do anything, will you?
This is the dilemma Anna, a thirty-something single woman faces when her new neighbour's 5year old daughter - Charlie - comes to her for help. Within days of Charlie arrival next door, Anna sees the injuries inflicted upon the child and is witness to the horrific abuse the little girl suffers. Anna desperate calls for help to the authorities appear to fall on deaf ears and so she does the only thing she can think of to keep the child alive and safe - kidnap her. But where will they go, how long does Anna need to keep Charlie for for the authorities to start investigating into what was happening to little Charlie and ultimately where will Charlie end up when it's all over.
This is a disturbing, thought provoking story that is sure to have many readers asking the question, what would I do in that situation. All too often we hear stories of children at risk falling through the cracks of the system with the end result too horrific to contemplate. Many a time in these situations it's revealed that neighbours, friends and/or family have reported the abuse over and over to the authorities but to avail - funding inadequacies, reporting failures and overworked-under resourced caseworkers leaves a child vulnerable and in jeopardy.
The author writes not only with strong emotive feelings that makes the reader want to stand side by side with Anna in her quest to keep Charlie safe but also with a deep sense of place as the characters move from location to location. There are many little sub-texts too to this story - the bond between mother and child, facing the death of a parent, discovering self and coming to terms with the past.
This is Sarah Armstrong's third novel, and for me, her stories just get better and better - this one is incredibly powerful.
A little dash of gladsome
This is my page of delight - things that tickle my fancy, favourite books to take me on inner journeys, art that lifts me up, and tib-bits to make me giggle. It'll be random, fanciful, joyful and delightfully inspiring.
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book