Thursday, February 16, 2012
Twilight Children by Torey Hayden
For decades, former special-education teacher Torey Hayden has been a light in the darkness for severely troubled children. She has chronicled her breakthroughs in a series of internationally bestselling books, including the powerful and poignant One Child and The Tiger’s Child. But it wasn’t until she left the classroom that she faced three of her most extraordinary challenges.
While working in the children’s psychiatric ward of a large hospital, Torey was introduced to seven year old Cassandra, a child who had been kidnapped by her father and was found dirty, starving and picking through rubbish bins to survive. She refused to speak, so Torey could only imagine what she had been through. Drake, by contrast, was a charismatic four-year old who managed to participate fully in his pre-school class without uttering a single word. Last, there was Gerda, eighty two who had suffered a massive stroke and was unwilling to engage in conversation with anyone. Although Torey had never worked with adults, she agreed to help when all other efforts had failed.
My first encounter with Torey Hayden’s writing was her fiction entitled Overheard in a Dream. I was really blown away by that book that it became one of my top three books for year 2010. I don’t really see a lot of her titles in the bookstore. Subsequently, when I was presented with a chance to purchase Twilight Children during a warehouse sales, I bought it without a second thought.
Twilight Children is not a fiction. It shares the works Torey did with these three individuals. First was Cassandra who went through a terrible time and I am glad they didn’t dwell on what she went through. I don’t think I would be able to take it. Second was her work with Drake, a really sweet boy but who wasn’t what we thought he was and last was with Gerda which I didn’t really understand what she accomplished with Gerda before Gerda’s death in nursing home. But these are children of the twilight, unseen and unheard in the near darkness, without a voice they can be easily lost when darkness approaches and never be found.
Because these are real account of her work, it wasn’t dramatised but more of a recollection of these cases and these people and what she went through with them and how they affected her emotionally. Twilight Children opens my eye and I’m glad I bought this book but I’m not sure I’m ready to read her other books as they all deal with children who were abused in one way or another and can be very sad.