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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library copy. Has typical library stamps and markings. No writing or marking in text of book. Has clear protective cover over dust jacket.
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The Unbreakable Child Hardcover – April 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 268 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* While the abuses of Catholic priests have been making headlines in recent years, little has been heard about mistreatment at the hands of nuns. Here Richardson, who was raised in a Catholic orphanage in Kentucky in the 1960s, recounts the horrors that she and countless other children endured there and takes readers on her journey to rid herself of the awful memories. Her catharsis comes with a lawsuit, which she and 44 other survivors brought against the order that ran the orphanage. Richardson tells two simultaneous stories. In one, she recalls episodes from her childhood where her “misbehavior” (such as leaving soil on her panties) led to unheard-of punishments. In the other, she takes us through the steps of the group lawsuit, from the first meeting with the attorney to the first deposition where a sister was present to, finally, a settlement, the first of its kind against Catholic nuns. Richardson’s candid accounts are chilling, and the strength she shows—with a very supportive husband at her side—is inspiring. Remarkably, she did not abandon the church and in fact sends her children to Catholic schools. Hers is a beautifully told story about strength and an enduring faith that can lead but one place: to forgiveness. --Mary Frances Wilkens

Review

"Richardson's candid accounts are chilling, and the strength she shows—with a very supportive husband at her side—is inspiring. Remarkably, she did not abandon the Church and in fact sends her children to Catholic schools. Hers is a beautifully told story about strength and an enduring faith that can lead but one place: to forgiveness."  —Booklist, starred review



"The Unbreakable Child is an act of courage, a book that insists on the primacy of justice, no matter how long the delay. Kim Michele Richardson, an author determined to give traumatic memories a rightful meaning, is one indestructible woman."  —Jason Berry, author, Vows of Silence


"This is a gripping account not just of horrific betrayal but also of heroic recovery."  —David Clohessy, director of SNAP and winner, People Magazine's 25 Most Intriguing People in 2003



"Not so much a tragic tale as it is a testament to the resilience of human nature and the fighting spirit residing somewhere in each of us."  —Greg Barrett, veteran journalist and author, The Gospel of Father Joe



"The most powerful story I've read in a long time. You'll feel her pain and her triumph, and be reminded that the human spirit is resilient beyond all reason. This book will change you."  —Jenna Glatzer, author, Celine Dion: For Keeps



"A harrowing, but beautifully crafted saga of one woman's courageous fight against evil, and her victory over the greatest titan in history—the Catholic church. This is a book that will haunt you."  —Alanna Nash, author, The Colonel



"Grim yet ultimately inspiring, this harrowing biography catalogues years of institutional abuse that took place in the Saint Thomas-Saint Vincent Orphan Asylum, a Catholic orphanage in Anchorage, Kentucky."  —Kentucky Examiner



"A must read for students entering the field of social work! Thank you, Ms. Richardson, for opening your life and sharing your journey for our betterment."  —Dr. Eugene H. Foster, former state child welfare executive
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Kunati Inc. (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160164163X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601641632
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,124,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Unbreakable Child will rip your heart out of your chest and dangle it in front of you. You'll ignore that minor inconvenience, because your eyes won't move from the pages of Kim Richardson's debut memoir. This is the story of Richardson's nine years in a Kentucky orphanage. At the same time, it's the story of the lawsuit brought against the order of nuns who ran the orphanage by Richardson and forty-four other former orphans.

You know those sensational stories splashed across the newspapers and leading the nightly news? The ones about priests and nuns abusing and molesting children? Kim lived it.

Kim and her three older sisters were taken from their neglectful mother when Kim was a toddler. The beatings started soon after and didn't stop until the girls' mother was granted custody again nine years later. There were bright spots--the gardener's flowers and homemade cookies, the friendships, the visits from the mostly ineffectual social worker. But the brightest spot was perhaps the death of Kim's main abuser.

Interspersed with the story of Kim's childhood is the story of the lawsuit. Forty-five regular people against the might of the Church might seem too daunting to attempt. But one lawyer took on the task, and won. Kim's struggle against high-powered lawyers mirrors her indomitable spirit struggling against years of abuse. Kim came out the victor both times. The end of this book, with Kim loved by her husband and children, is a testament to hope and strength.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. This edition of The Unbreakable Child, published by Behler Publications, is new and expanded, and contains a reader's guide. The memoir details Kim's horrific abuse as a child at the hands of the clergy who were supposed to be caring for her and nurturing her, and it also chronicles Kim's work, together with other former orphans, with William McMurray, a strong advocate for victims of clergy and institutional abuse. Kim and other former orphans were the first clergy abuse victims to win a settlement against an order of Catholic nuns. The book is very timely, with new horror stories of clergy abuse coming to light each day.

Kim's story is healing to those who have themselves experienced such horrors, and it is a testament to Kim's spirit, her unbreakable strength, and the power which resides in her heart to forgive. Her memoir also offers encouragement to people who have suffered abuse, that it is possible to strengthen the broken places and live fully and freely. And last but not least, her book plays a strong and vital role in demanding accountability and apology from the Catholic church, acknowledgement by the Church of the wrongs committed by its clergy to bring about an environment, in all institutions of the Church, in which those wrongs will never be tolerated again.

Kim Michele Richardson is an inspiration and a true heroine.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading The Unbreakable Child. It was one of the hardest books I've ever read, yet one of the most necessary. I am a Catholic nun and was outraged at the humiliation, degradation, pain and exploitation that Kim and the others experienced during their years at the orphanage. I am so very, very sorry that those who should have shown God's love for them treated them with such cruel intent.

Kim's amazing journey of healing is ultimately a beacon of hope, showing that in our darkest moments our light shines brightest.
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Format: Hardcover
Through the pages of this well written memoir, Kim Richardson puts a "face" on all children who have suffered abuse at the hand of those charged to protect and nurture them. In an age where abuse of children and vulnerable adults seems epidemic, her story reminds the reader of the responsibility we all have to be vigilant for evidence of abuse of those who cannot protect themselves and quick to report suspected abuse to the appropriate authority.

This is not just a story of injustice and cruelty beyond belief, but is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the triumph of perseverance and determination over stark adversity. Readers who have suffered an abusive past will be inspired by Ms. Richardson's example of hope, courage, and reconciliation. Those who have devoted their careers to protecting children will face their work with a renewed sense of mission. No one will read this book and not be deeply affected.

It is a must read for students entering the field of social work!

Thank you, Ms. Richardson, for opening your life and sharing your journey for our betterment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Unbreakable Child is this generation's A Child Called It. An inspirational read, full of hope, justice, and redemption. With heartbreaking honesty, Richardson chronicles her abuses at the orphanage where she spent many years not only abandoned by society and the Church, but by her own family. Despite the brutal attempts to break her spirit, Richardson remained not only the unbreakable child, but a woman determined to break through the institutional wall to speak for victims everywhere. This book will break your heart, then open it to the possibility that through strength, determination, and love those once forgotten will be found again.

There are poignant moments of clarity and tenderness, and even humor. One can never forget Richardson's first ice-cream cone and the delight of that first taste of sweet, or her first supper of fried chicken, her first gift of a beautiful bracelet, her first time to taste the wind - Young Richardson's gratitude for the smallest of life's gifts will stay locked in the reader's heart forever.

And most beautiful of all is when Richarson at last finds her Forever Family. An unforgettable must read.
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