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The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America Hardcover – September 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"harrowing biography... Philps tells Vanya's often shocking tale with sensitivity but while this story is ultimately a happy one, Philps reveals that there remain about 800,000 children in Russie still trapped in homes such as Baby House 10." SUNDAY TIMES 24.01.10 "deeply moving, frequently enraging and ultimately uplifting account of how a seriously disabled child blessed with an unquenchable spirit triumphs over adversity with the aid of good-hearted people... compelling, often haunting book..." DAILY MAIL -22.01.10 "miracle story... The book ends with a sober codicil; there are still five thousand children in Russia condemned to bed regimes." IRISH TIMES - 12.01.10 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ALAN PHILPS is a reporter for the Telegraph, UK. He lives in London with his wife Sarah. JOHN LAHUTSKY is an American high school student who lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with his mother.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312576978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312576974
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Just when you think there's no more way to find cruelty in the world, this book comes along. John Lahutsky's story begins when he was Vanya, a child abandoned by an immature mother, at the mercy of Russian orphanages. These orphanages come across as bizarre, like an experiment to see what happens to children deprived of care, let alone human interaction and attention. Sadly, we already know. The children lose their ability to function, get diagnosed as uneducable, and descend into a vicious spiral. They move from the indifference of the Baby House to the horror of the "internat," the insane asylums that resemble concentration camps.

To be fair, the institutional staff are also victims: underpaid and helpless. Raised under Stalin, the director of Vanya's Baby House has never learned to make decisions or take charge.

Vanya demonstrates the psychological construct of resilience. He reaches out to other children and to visiting adults. Reaching out to Sarah Philips turns his life around. Sarah enlistes her husband Alan, a journalist with media access. Sarah and a Russian volunteer, Vika, managed to rescue Vanya from the cycle. One adoption falls through. (This is not a spoiler. When you read the book jacket, you know who finally adopts Vanya.)

After a series of hair-raising adventures, Vanya becomes part of a grass roots foster parent organization. Two Russian women offer to adopt Vanya, but a miracle happens. An American single woman, Paula, adopts Vanya. Paula, a school psychologist with a Russian heritage, turns out to be the perfect "mom." In a moving chapter at the end of the book, John shares his story about living in the Pennsylvania countryside. His resilience and self-protective personality come across even when he talks of choosing a Boy Scout troop.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Priscilla L. Feir PhD on December 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No need to go out shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, The Boy from Baby House 10 is this year's Christmas gift for family and friends!

This little boy's life is chronicled in a way that should only be told in fiction. John's story, unfortunately, is not fiction but the honest truth of a life discarded. The heroes in John's story include John and the many good people who touched his life and with a sense of justice, became his guardian angels as well. Alan Philps and John Lahutsky have partnered up to tell a story and raise the consciousness of all who take the time to read it.

I was inspired by John's resilience to extremely harsh conditions. For this very young child to have faced `an internat' where older adults were housed because there was no other place for them in society, and call out for adults who were going about their business trying to help, as volunteers in any way they could to relieve the boredom of an asylum. How could it be the volunteer role to save children? Isn't that the role of caretaker?

For all of us who have too much and want for nothing, John reminds that perhaps if we ever need to test our resolve and resilience, we might find happiness in knowing that this one little boy made it and with a little help from our guardian angels, we can too.

Alan and John, thank you for sharing this very inspirational story. Sarah, you are what many women aspire to become - someone who can take care of their family and support others as well by giving of yourself so compassionately. And, finally, to Paula Lahutsky, mother of John Lahutsky, you certainly did find the most loving boy to mother!! I can't wait for the sequel!!!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ms D Sherry on December 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The story of Vanya/John from unspeakably appalling Russian "ophanages" to successful and happy life in America is totally absorbing. It reads like a thriller: I was so anxious to turn to the next page to see what happens next.
Whilst the story is very sad and at times I wanted to grab some of these cruel and unthinking people and shake them, it never wallows in "misery lit" but tells the story in a way that also celebrates the ordinary people who achieve so much in their quest to save Vanya and improve the lives of other neglected children. It is their story too and you do feel uplifted by this as well as disgusted with the state system in Russia.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By bhoppy on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You hear stories about the conditions of Soviet era orphanages that are horrible but to read about it from a child's perspective is gut wrenching. I couldn't stop reading. The mindset portrayed of the staff is still holds to this day (2008). Our daughter is Russian-American (adopted 2008) and we spent 3 weeks in Russia visiting her everyday for 2-3 hours before final decree was issued. We met many people there who could not understand why we were adopting this child and who were also equally surprised that we were not "arrogant, rich Americans wanting to sell her bodyparts." At times I could only laugh in complete understanding the frustration of dealing with the court system and their multiple requests for more and more documents, then became saddened to think the caregivers would have told our daughter we were not coming for her as they told Vanya/John when his adoption to England was prolonged. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maria A. Falvo on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have no idea what goes on in eastern european countries when children arent PERFECT you are going to be shocked, sad, angry and stunned. If you are a parent this is a must read. If you are human , this is a must read. this little boys AMAZING desire to LIVE AND THRIVE is unbelievable and so awe inspiring. a cast of characters come together to try and fight a broken system with cold ignorant ideas, to save a childs life. excellent book. you will be changed.
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