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Just Another Kid by Torey Hayden
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Just Another Kid (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Torey Hayden

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473821,857 (3.91)5
Member:BellaFoxx
Title:Just Another Kid
Authors:Torey Hayden
Info:Avon (1989), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Just Another Kid by Torey L. Hayden (1988)

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» See also 5 mentions

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**spoiler alert** In this book, Torey Hayden teaches a challenging class for emotionally disturbed children consisting of Shamie, Geraldine and Shemona, three refugees from Northern Ireland, one of whom (Shemona) is an elective mute; Dirkie, who has schizophrenia; Mariana, who is sexually precocious but academically behind; and Leslie, also autistic and unable to communicate. Hayden could badly use an aide, and she accepts Leslie's mother, Ladbrooke, who is a beautiful but aloof women with a history of alcoholism and child abuse. Through their relationship, Ladbrooke comes to trust Hayden and begins to face up to her problems. Through working with the children, Ladbrooke develops considerable self-esteem. All but one of the children improve, as well, and make dramatic gains in academic and social skills. In an epilogue, we learn of updates, the most remarkable perhaps being Ladbrooke's. This is anything but a grim read, however, Hayden seasons her book with a healthy dollop of black humor.

Review borrowed from Amazon. ( )
  playersammy | Mar 29, 2013 |
I don't really know why I paid attention to this book as it was going past me. I was tiring - perhaps anything could have distracted me at that point. But this is the book that was in my hands.

It tells the tale of a teacher. It tells a little about the lives of six children and the teacher's assistant, but mostly it's about a teacher. It would make sense - it's categorised on the back as a memoir.

I suppose I read it because I wanted to check it. I wanted to make sure it wasn't yet another tale of the underclass (in this case, disabled folks) being at a standstill and unable to do anything, until the better, more normal, more like-the-reader protagonist sweeps in and fixes everything overnight. The sentence on the front cover of this edition - "Each was a child no one could reach - until one amazing teacher embraced them all" - didn't exactly ease my fears. I knew I'd be less like the protagonist than the people she'd be saving, so I wasn't expecting to enjoy the book.

Halfway through the book, however, I was ecstatic. This book had a person who had one of the problems I have. This was the first time I'd encountered anyone in a story who did this (couldn't speak whilst stressed), and the surrounding symptoms were very familiar to me. This person wasn't just a cardboard cut out (as a couple of the children ended up) - this was the character with the most development, the most description. And she was like me, at least in this tiny way.

By the end, though, I was worried by the book. How much of it was true? It was supposed to be true, and I really wanted to have not been lied to. But there were incidents in there that shouldn't have been published without the consent of the people involved, and the epilogue explained that there were people that the author had lost contact with. After the epilogue were adverts for other books of hers, including one set in a psychiatric ward, all memoirs. This really worried me. Hippocratic oath, anyone? Should she have written any of these books, as I'm sure there's people who aren't legally allowed to have given informed consent in every single one?

It's easy to exploit children - even easier if you're convinced that it's the right thing to do. No-one's disability should be anyone's bestseller.

And the sentence on the front of the book? Is a lie. ( )
1 vote escapepea | Aug 25, 2011 |
I don't normally bother with true life sob stories but I can't resist Torey Hayden's books. I think it's her honesty and the fact that although the work she does is amazing she admits to making mistakes. It would be easy to put her on a pedestal but she is only human which makes her books all the more enjoyable.

These kids who would otherwise be ignored are brought to our attention and shown to be as delightful as any other kids just in different ways. They are honest and funny and the fact that they are almost untamed is fascinating as it's an insight into what we would be like with no boundaries or rules.

I did get to the point where I wanted to get past the bits with Ladbrooke and onto the kids again but I still enjoyed reading the whole book. ( )
  Moonkey | Jan 11, 2010 |
I had this book given to me and would not have chosen it myself as I am not a fan of this genre. However, the book is well written and takes the reader through the course of a year with disturbed children.

The main theme of the book is, however, 'Just Another Kid' as in Ladbrooke - a very troubled but ultimately redeemable parent/aide who is taken under the wing of Torey Hayden. The trials and tribulations of the entire, though small class including teacher and aide make for interesting reading and is very thought-provoking. ( )
  Heptonj | Sep 8, 2009 |
Another wonderful book by Torey Hayden.... and I find it so hard to critisize true-story books, because it's not like I can say "the plot sucked" or anything because it's real, can't mess with real.... But honestly this book focused much more on one of the mother's then I had hoped. I mean, it was wonderful that Torey was able to help her, but I expected this book to be mostly about the children, as her other books are, so it kind of caught me off-guard and there were parts where I just wanted to skip through all of the dredgery of Ladbrooke's problems and get back to the kids. ( )
  Heather19 | Jan 24, 2009 |
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It was a hodgepodge setup, that classroom, not unlike the rest of my life at the time.
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Book description
Koskettavassa tositarinassa erityisopettajan huolenpitoa kaipaa lasten lisäksi myös eräs äiti.

Torey Hayden saa opetettavakseen kuusi ongelmalasta, joiden kanssa kukaan muu opettaja ei ole pärjännyt. Kolme heistä on kotoisin sodanrepimästä Pohjois-Irlannista, ja kaikki kuusi kärsivät vaikeista tunne-elämän häiriöistä kuten aggressioista tai puhumattomuudesta.

Haydenin suurimmaksi haasteeksi muodostuu kuitenkin yllättäen erään oppilaan äiti Ladbrooke, jonka näennäisesti täydellistä elämää varjostavat monenlaiset ongelmat itsetuhoisuudesta alkoholismiin.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380705648, Mass Market Paperback)

Torey Hayden faced six emotionally troubled kids no other teacher could handle-three recent arrivals from battletorn Northern Ireland, badly traumatized by the horrors of war; eleven-year-old Dirkie, who only knew of life inside an institution; excitable Mariana, aggressive and sexually precocious at the age of eight; and seven-year-old Leslie, perhaps the most hopeless of all, unresponsive and unable to speak.

With compassion, rare insight, and masterful storytelling, teacher Torey L. Hayden once again touches our hearts with her account of the miracles that can happen in her class of "special" children.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Torey Hayden faced six emotionally troubled kids no other teacher could handle. She was determined that every child should experience joy, hope and a future free of fear, and with compassion, patience and most of all love she knew that miracles can happen.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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