Customer Reviews: Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child
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on April 4, 2009
This book sat on my Mom's shelf for over a was given to her by her friend from England and she never really intended to read it.

I picked it up and read it in one sitting...beginning at 9 PM and finishing somewhere around 3 AM. I kept saying, "Just one more chapter...just one more page...then I MUST go to bed" but I could not put down the story of Jodie and Cathy.

This story evokes a gamut of emotions...from harrowing sorrow to fierce anger. But, ultimately, it left me feeling hopeful...and grateful. Grateful that there are people in this world who stand up for the Jodies of the world.

Jodie is a little girl who spent her first eight years in an abusive nightmare with her biological parents and their revolting circle of "friends". Once freed from that prison, she went through four foster carers in five months. You see, Jodie *is* damaged...damaged by her parents and damaged by the social system that failed her. Her violent personality reflects that. How can anyone come out of the other side of what she has been through and not be damaged/fragmented/lost. But her one, small, stroke of luck was ending up in Cathy's home. She and her amazing children provided Jodie with a safety net that she would never have been granted with from, most likely, any other family.

This book will make you very, very angry. It may possibly make you weep. But you will also rejoice...and, like me, be thankful for the amazing Cathy...and the love she provided that saved a little, lost girl.
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on November 27, 2007
Cathy Glass writes a powerful visual book which cannot fail to unleash a stream of emotions in the reader. The disturbing account of little Jodie's eight long suffering years filled me with despair, and more. The incompetence and short sightedness of the Social Services brought intense anger. But, thanks to her carer, Cathy, who introduces stability, structure and most of all love to this damaged child, made me realize there is always hope.
This is a well written page turner.
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on July 28, 2010
Overall: 5 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 5 Stars

Cathy Glass does a brave thing in this book by telling the story of one of her "failures." By "failures," I mean that the child was not "repaired" to the point of being able to enter society by finding a permanent family. This was by no means a failure on Cathy's part, as she did everything that anyone, outside of a trained psychiatrist, could have done.

What amazed me about the story was Cathy's perserverance in keeping Jodie. Sure, a couple of times she admitted to wanting to "send her back." However, she never did so voluntarily, as I feel that many foster parents would have done. Ms. Glass was supremely honest in what she considered to be her shortcomings, but I considered to be her bravery and strength of spirit.

Jodie's story was a horrifying one that will leave the reader gasping and crying. Unfortunately, it was also a story of something that is too often an occurance in our society. Cathy does a terrific job of detailing Jodie's past with the knowledge that she gained from Jodie. She tells of her experiences in a succinct manner, shocking the reader without resorting to blatant tactics.

I think I was most horrified by Cathy's portrayal of the Social Worker's failings.

Character Development: 5 Stars

Cathy not only does an excellent job of allowing the reader to get to know Jodie; she also reveals much of herself in the telling. I felt as though I was getting to know her as well as her charge and her family.

The reader is also privy to the personalities of her children, which gives the story a more rounded effect. It particularly shows the major contrast between Jodie and "normal" children.

Writing Style: 5 Stars

As in her first novel that I read, Ms. Glass' writing style was excellent for the story. It was simply told, without a lot of fanfare. The descriptions were well done, and the dialogue was realistic.

Rating: R for Adult Themes and Child Sexual Abuse
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on June 29, 2009
I love kids and when I read this book I found myself with a strong urge to see all the bad in the world come upon those who would hurt a little child such as Jodie. I kept trying to imagine as I read, what would happen next or how the book would turn out in the end, then I remembered that this is A TRUE STORY.
If you are faint of heart, be careful reading this heartbreaking story about an 8 year old girl whose life was destroyed and if not for the caring of one woman, would have been condemned to a life of horror forever. I highly recommend this book, Cathy Glass did a wonderful job in telling this tragic true story.
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The author (and I use author rather than Cathy Glass because Glass is a pseudonym she writes under)of this book is a foster carer in Great Britain. It was interesting, as an aside, to compare the foster care/children's social service systems between the United States and Great Britain. Other than that, I wouldn't say "Damaged" was interesting. It was heartwrenching, profoundly moving, tragic. It made me sob and feel vengeful, not only for "Jodie" but for all of our innocent children that are defiled across this world by the very people who should be protecting them the most fiercely - their parents.

I have the utmost admiration for most foster caregivers and most social service people. To some it is just a job but to people like the author it is their life's calling, one that I could never do.

I would not recommend this book for early teens, at least without adult supervision and discussion, or for people who don't deal well with graphic sexual content and violence, especially if it is directed towards children. I thought the author handled these sequences in the book very professionally but they are what they are- child sexual abuse. The title of the book should be "Destroyed" because this little girl was permanently, irrevocably destroyed - she will never be whole. And what does that say for the neighbors that turned a blind eye or the social service system that didn't follow through as it should have?

This book reminded me of the impact another author had on my life - Torey L. Hayden, who is a special education teacher writing about some of her special needs students. The first of her books I read was One Child and she went on to write more. I highly recommend both authors. Just be prepared.
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on November 14, 2012
No reader should attempt to read this book without knowing ahead of time that there are disturbing descriptions of genuine acts of severe child sexual abuse throughout. Other types of child abuse are also described. If a reader has experienced abuse in her or his own life, do not read this book without recourse to a therapist or understanding listener as there are many scenes that can trigger post-traumatic flashbacks.

That said, the book was well-written and edited in a plain, forthright style, by the foster-mother of an eight-year-old girl who had been bounced around through the British social service system for four months before being helped in any substantial way, other than removal from the "home" where she had been abused so badly.

The book is gripping; I received it at a discount and sat down expecting to read a chapter or two to see if I liked it and ended up reading the whole book at a sitting. It was profoundly moving, distressing, and realistic. The writer did a remarkable job of keeping it real and not dwelling in any exploitative way on the experiences of the abused child. However, the plain facts are hair-raising nonetheless.

This is a book that should be read by all care-givers, foster parents, social workers, child-therapists, and students of child therapy. It should be assigned reading with discussion groups afterward.

All in all, although I couldn't say I exactly enjoyed the book, I learned from it, it touched me, and I would recommend it very highly to those with interest in the subject of child abuse and its aftermath. However, it DID push my buttons and trigger some flashbacks, and I thought other readers should be made aware of the possibility.
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on March 10, 2008
If you know someone who doesn't believe child abuse exists, this is a great gift for that person.
If you know someone who is a survivor this is a great book, if you want to understand true feelings, read it.
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on January 1, 2015
I originally started Jodie's story with the free sample, but I had to know more. Cathy Glass drew me in to Jodie's life, and I wanted to know what had happened in this little girl's past to cause her to behave and act the way she did.

Needless to say, Jodie's experiences were far worse than anything I could have ever imagined. My heart broke as the pieces were revealed bit by bit, and my anger and disgust toward her abusers grew and grew. I know there are evil people in this world, but it is always difficult to accept that there are people that evil and depraved.

I had a little difficulty understanding some of the terms because I'm American and am not familiar with British life. However, that didn't affect my reading of this story nor distract me from the true focal point of Jodie's life.

I pray that Jodie is somehow leading a good, decent life. I pray she has some normalcy and can function in society. I pray that Jodie has learned to love and be loved

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the foster care system. Cathy Glass is not only an incredible role model and example, but also a truly exceptional woman to take foster children into her home and make a positive difference in their lives. Readers should be aware that Jodie's story is a difficult one to learn about and their hearts will break for an innocent little girl.
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on October 6, 2008
I read this book in two days. Cathy Glass is an amazing writer and an amazing person. Made me cry buckets and although it does not have a "fairytale" ending it leaves a lot of hope out there, knowing there are people like Cathy in this world. I also read her other book Hidden, which is equally good.
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on December 8, 2014
This is a book that one cannot say they "like" but it keeps a person mesmerized from reading the cruel, sick, sick that some poor kids have to endure to stay alive at the hands of parents and other relatives. No child should ever have to put up with the cards that have been dealt to them, and parents that are this mean to inflict this kind of damage should be given life behind bars, if not death.
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