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218 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Cage the Animals at Night
They Cage the Animals at Night is a terrific and emotionalstory about Jennings Michael Burch, a young boy who learned to survivein a cold, frightening world. His mother was too sick to care for him and left him in a series of orphanages and institutions. Life in these orphanages was brutal, punishments were cruel, rules were strict, and Jennings was unable to do anything...
Published on April 8, 2000

versus
25 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half-truths?
I liked the book, but I have internal warning lights going off as to the complete veracity of the story.

While I don't doubt that many of the abusive and neglectful things that happened to Burch did, in fact, happen to him, I can't help but have this feeling that there is some embellishment going on when it comes to some of the abuse. Sometimes the stories of...
Published on September 21, 2007 by D. May


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218 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Cage the Animals at Night, April 8, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
They Cage the Animals at Night is a terrific and emotionalstory about Jennings Michael Burch, a young boy who learned to survivein a cold, frightening world. His mother was too sick to care for him and left him in a series of orphanages and institutions. Life in these orphanages was brutal, punishments were cruel, rules were strict, and Jennings was unable to do anything about it. He couldn't rely on family and friends because they all abandoned him in times that he really needed them. A tattered stuffed dog was the only friend that stayed with him through it all and the only thing he could count on in his lost childhood. This is the best book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. When it was time to go to sleep, I would get a flashlight and sit in the dark for hours and read this book. I have never read a sadder story. The fact that this all happened to the author makes me realize just how lucky I actually am to have family, friends, home, and money. I really felt sorry for Jennings. He was a boy about my age who doesn't have all that I have. The story was based on sadness, love, survival, family, and friends. I would recommend this to anyone of any age who likes a powerful, sad story or who wants to be moved and touched. My entire family has either read it or wants to read it. Everyone I know that read it has felt the same way that I do about it.
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110 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THEY ALSO CAGE THE SOUL..., June 14, 2001
By 
Sandra D. Peters "Seagull Books" (Prince Edward Island, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the story of Jennings Michael Burch and it is not an easy book to read. It tells of a young boy's determination to survive despite abandonment, physical abuse and humiliation after being left by his ailing mother at an orphanage. He then experiences a variety of foster homes and some of these accounts will bring more than a single tear to your eye.
During his stay at an orphanage, the Sisters would allow the children to choose a stuffed animal to take to bed with them at night as a source of comfort. Goodness only knows, it was their only small comfort - every other aspect was a child's worst nightmare! However, in the wee hours of the morning before the children awoke, the animals would quickly be gathered up and locked away (caged) and this is the source of the book's title. David's only source of acceptance, love and understanding comes from "Doggie", a tattered stuffed dog. Your heart will cry for this little boy whose only desire is to please, be loved and be wanted. The story does have a happy ending, if such stories ever really do. Despite all odds, Michael does survive, along with "Doggie". The hurt, rejection and loneliness felt as an abused child never disappear. The wounds heal, the heart forgives, but the mind never forgets. Anyone who has experienced abuse as a child, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional or verbal, will be able to relate only too well to the story of little Jennings Michael Burch. Often, reading the stories of other victims of abuse, help the adult survivor to realize they are not alone. If you have never experienced abuse, you will count your blessings that you have never had to live each and every day in a world of constant fear and rejection. ...
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Cage the Animals at Night, April 21, 2002
By 
C. Petersen (Seattle, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I finished this book at one sitting because I could not put it down. It was one of the most touching stories I ever read. It tells the story of a little boy named Jennings. His mother has health problems, so he and his brothers spend much of their young lives in orphanages and foster homes. Jennings is seperated from his mom and his brothers, and sent to cold institutions that are often run by unfeeling administrators who dole out painful and humiliating punishments for small, insignificant offenses such as wetting the bed. He is lent out to foster homes where he is ignored, beaten, and otherwise mistreated. All this moving around causes him to fall behind in his schooling. Because of this, his fellow students and even his teachers mock and deride him, telling him he is stupid. What little time he does spend at home is disrupted by quarreling older brothers, a sick mother, a permanently hospitalized brother, a couple of drunken brothers, and a constant lack of money. And even with all he went through, he didn't give up. The book is very well written, and will touch the heart of anyone who loves children. I think that everone should read this inspiring true story.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Must read this book, January 6, 2003
A Kid's Review
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
They Cage the Animals at Night is a terrific and emotional story about Jennings Michael Burch, a young boy who learned to survive in a cold, frightening world. His mother was too sick to care for him and left him in a series of orphanages and institutions. Life in the orphanages was brutal, punishments were cruel, rules were strict, and Jennings was unable to do anything about it. Through all this time, Jennings was taught not to become close to people, because the ones you love, always leave you. At these times in the book I wanted to jump in, lead Jennings on the right track, and tell him what he believed was wrong.
He bounced from home, to orphanages, to abusive foster homes, to good foster homes, to living at the zoo and rummaging through the trash for food. He could not rely on family and friends because they all abandoned him in times when he really needed them. Four of his five other brothers were going through similar times so they had no way to help Jennings.
A tattered stuffed dog named Doggie, which Jennings stole from his first foster home, was the only friend that stayed with him through the harsh times. He was the only friend he could count on through his lost and broken childhood. The story was based on sadness, love, survival, family, and friends that left me with a new look on a life I could not even imagine existed.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Cage the Animals at Night, December 5, 2002
By 
Kate (Marion, Ma) - See all my reviews
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
"They Cage the Animals at Night" by Jennings Michael Burch is an autobiography of an eight-year-old boy who faced the perils of an insecure childhood, in everyway possible. Jennings was placed in several children's institutions due to his mother being sick and his father a drunken bum that he'd never met. He was separated from his five other brothers, and placed in orphanages, as a part-timer instead of the orphans (a.k.a. lifers) He bounced from home, to orphanages, to abusive foster homes, to good foster homes, to living at the zoo and rummaging through the trash for food. Through all this time, Jennings was taught not to become close to people, because the ones you love, always leave you. Jennings was taught many other lessons; unfortunately he learned them all the hard way. This story will break your heart, and yet at the same time fill you with hope for him in the future as you compare him to his brothers.
I loved this book. I read it as a fifth grader, and then again in high school. With both reads I learned something. The pages of this autobiography made tears come to my eyes, because Jennings Michael Burch brings you into the story, and back to the memories of your own childhood. You can't believe that the days you were twirling around in your princess costume, Jennings was sleeping in the cold bushes of the Bronx zoo by himself.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Cage the Animals at Night, February 2, 2000
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
My twelve year old daughter read this remarkable book over a vacation. So awe inspiring that she cried throughout most of the vacation. She finished it and I picked it up. Jennings is a wonderful innocent being who as a child, gave into to his surroundings because he had no choice. I cried throughout the book also, hardly ever puting it down the two days it took me to read it. It's a story of hardship, emotional abuse and neglect by teachers as well as clergy.
Jennings could have easily turned out to be on the outskirts of life, drifting in and out of prison. Instead he gave us this book and a hard look at a life that most of us have never seen. A wonderfully poignant and terrible sad book at the same time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!, November 13, 2006
By 
Audrey (Warren, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
The author does an excellent job giving the point of view of a child in this situation of child neglect and abuse. The boy's mother would frequently run into difficulties with her health and mental illness and drop him off at an orphanage with no explanation. These places traumatized the children even further- you gotta love the priorities of the Catholic Church. With the exception of one nun, the rest were sadistic in the treatment of the children. Most of his experiences with Foster care were very sad. People taking in foster children for the money is a bad idea. The money from the state is supposed to be REIMBURSEMENT for money spent on the child- NOT PROFIT. This boy was smart and caring and did a remarkable job surviving the circumstances.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awesome! Recommended to anyone, August 13, 2005
By 
Will Stuller "WTS" (Indianapolis, IN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I had to read this book for freshman year in highschool, and first thought it to be garbage. After reading the first few pages, I was hooked. Only took me 3 days to read the whole thing. In some point of the book, I almost cried. I think everyone should read this book! Fantastic! Deserves more than 5 stars.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!, November 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I first read this book when I was about 11 yrs. old! 6yrs. later I recieve the same feeling. I could not imagine how ayoung boy can be put through so much and still survive. If you really think about it there are children put through this child abuse everyday. Luckily it wasn't you! When I began reading this book I could never put it down. Now I have friends in line waiting to read it so they can experience this life touching story. It makes you view life in a different prospective. I recommend this book to EVERYBODY.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars is not enough!, September 26, 2005
By 
This review is from: They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I miss reading this book. As the adoptive mom to a 9 year old boy who previously lived in 3 different orphanages, I didn't just read this book. I felt this book deep in my soul, and cried during much of the reading of it. Because of Jennings I feel I have a better understanding (not just in my head, but in my heart) of my own son. I cannot thank Jennings Burch enough for the courage to write this book. You are an inspiration and a gift!
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They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet)
They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) by Jennings Michael Burch (Mass Market Paperback - October 1, 1985)
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