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They Cage the Animals at Night (Signet) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1985

4.8 out of 5 stars 344 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This heart-wrenching autobiographical account...has the power of a Dickens novel. -- Booklist

About the Author

Burch has worked as a New York City policeman, achauffeur, a theatre manager, a magazine pressman, anda short-order cook. He holds a B.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College.
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (October 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451159411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451159410
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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A Kid's Review on January 6, 2003
Format: 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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