The Perfect Childby Published 01 Mar 2019
|The Perfect Child.pdf|
|Publisher||Thomas & Mercer|
A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.
The Perfect Child Reviews
.....narrated by Christine Williams Erin Bennett, Dan John Miller
The three voice narrators kept me interested - really hooked!!!
One reviewer compared this to ‘Baby Teeth’. Both books deal with a mentally troubled child....
But where ‘Baby Teeth’ was fiction nonsense — in which several of my friends who are child therapists agree.... ( Baby Teeth being way out in left field - one which few therapists vouch it’s realistic qualities-in which a young child expresses she wants daddy to kill mommy while watching them have sex)....
“The Perfect Child” ‘was’ written by a child-trauma- therapist. I thought it was very plausible- from beginning to end. The child’s behavior ‘was’ disturbing but more realistic ( she had been severely abused by her birth mother), making us have tons of empathy as to just how hard every single day is for everyone: The child, and new adoptive parents.
“The Perfect Child”, is more than a disturbing story… its an ongoing chronic nightmare of a story.....
but also FASCINATING!!!!
The ending was weak -
but the rest of it had me curious as to what’s the solution? How does a couple raise - help- and support a severely emotionally disturbed child? How does a child who has been soooo traumatize, heal? How much can you expect from
loving responsible adults?
The child in this story - Janie- had unpredictable and unbearable tantrums. She finger painted with her own poop, broke toys, killed an animal, was manipulative, controlling, hurt other children, and had extreme attachment displacement disorder.
Her new adoptive parents were willing to do everything possible to rehabilitate the child...
With every type of therapy imaginable and their undivided loving attention.
But Janie made it extremely difficult to succeed.
Anyone who has worked with children.... social workers, teachers, pediatric medical doctors, nurses, parents, foster care parents, or have adopted a child..... might consider reading this book.
(I suggest the Audiobook)...
Much respect for author Lucinda Berry...
She knows what she’s doing!!!
Terrific psychological character study... of all the main characters.
Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down. My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(
It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.
Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thrillers. I have to read more of her books in the future.
A dead meth addict's child being wild proves to be a pretty good read, even though placed far out in the field of unbelievable. I'm not sure where the ending is, though.
Do regular 6-year old undernourished kids the size of a newborn (even crazy ones) have the necessary strength to kill a grown up meth addict?
Is it really all right to ignore that the kid's mentally ill? And she's not just blandly 'ill', but bonkers and plenty dangerous to other people, not just herself.
All the manipulation they were letting Janie do, it wasn't improving even her own state. Kids are more clever than we realize and had they actually communicated to Janie that she can't do things she does, she would've been quick to improve. Obviously, she knew well how to behave with the people she wanted to look good.
Where do they get those irrationally patient women, like Hannah? They were raking her over the coals for virtually nothing (I don't really thing her psychotic scribblings or hallucinations were real). No wonder she got psychotic, a double whammy of gaslihting and lying and raising hand on her husband & kid? She should've given a good walloping to her husband (maybe knocking some sense into him would have helped?). And the kid, Janie - one really needs to be more straightforward with discipline for all kids. They just weren't clear enough in communicating to her which things are not ever to be done. Of course, to have such talks, they first would have to acknowledge that Janie's doing weird shit. But no, they go full on with blinders still on. Anyway, discipline is good, there are some miraculous kids that won't go and push people off the stairs to their death but, BUT it's ok if sometimes they get up to things that they would need to be stopped from. Like, 'no killing any animals rule'.
Locking the refrigerators? I don't think that's the best practice considering her eating history. I don't see anything being done other than drastic controlling her food intake. Psychological help, anyone?
Psychology sucks in here, all right. Hannah gets on heavy medication while what she needed was some family therapy and respite from the kid that was driven by something. And a more caring husband, of course.
I'm not sure why the author skipped considering how the mother taking meth could've affected the daughter, since Janie obviously was abnormal from the start of her career of resident 'l'enfant terrible'. Especially considering her supposedly professional insight on the social sciences issues.
I knew what was expected of me with their questions. Talking freely and open-endedly could result in me saying something I wasn’t supposed to. Nerves twisted my stomach.(c)
It never crossed anyone’s mind that someone else might be in trouble. I wished it would’ve. Maybe then things would’ve ended differently. (c)
There’s something really amazing about watching someone transform before your eyes. It’s like witnessing a small miracle. I don’t want you to miss it. (c)
It seemed torturous not to feed her, but the doctors had assured us that keeping her on her schedule was the best thing for her. (c)
“I don’t even know why she freaked out. I mean, one second we were coloring, and the next minute, she just freaked out for no reason. I didn’t even tell her no or anything.” (c)
She was too young to be that manipulative. And besides, Hannah was an adult. She could handle it. (c) Damn stupid.
“...It drives me crazy that he doesn’t see how disturbing it is. I understand that she’s got mom issues, but she’s so hostile toward me now.”...
“Not to mention that it’s manipulative and controlling.” (c) Damn unhelpful.
“This is the daddy.” She pointed to the little girl in the chair next to him. “And this is the girl.”
“Is there a mommy?”
Janie curled her lips in disgust. “No. There’s no mommy.” (c) Uh-huh.
“She’s had a traumatic disconnect from love and attachment with a maternal figure. In her mind, the world isn’t a safe place, and mothers can’t be trusted. Think about it—usually when babies cry, they’re picked up or fed when they’re hungry. But Janie’s never had this. She doesn’t trust you, so she rejects you even though you’re exactly what she needs the most.” (c)
“Children of trauma are experts at triangulation.”
“Triangulation?” I asked.
“The child will act a certain way with one parent and a different way with the other parent. They try all kinds of things to drive a wedge in the parents’ relationship.”
“Janie doesn’t do that.” (c) Denial.
I hadn’t paid attention to the last ten minutes of our session because I’d been trying to wrap my head around purposefully manipulating a six-year-old child, especially one who’d been traumatized, into doing something you wanted them to. (c) Denial and lack of understanding about parenting a kid. Any kid much less a problematic one.
She was communicating her feelings in the only way she knew how, and everything I’d researched stressed the importance of letting abused children make their own choices. (c) Which just goes that bad books shouldn't be taken at face value. And a perfect illustration that reading a bunch of books doesn't necessarily make everyone an expert without critical thinking. Or even with it.
We practice fairness in our family.” It all sounded right but felt wrong in my gut.
She narrowed her eyes to slits. “No.” ...
“No! You have to say good night to me! Say good night to me!” Janie screamed. (c) A regular ill-behaved kid.
“Did they keep going back to Dr. Chandler?”
“Even after she’d suggested a therapy practice that ended up hurting Janie?”
“Yes, they continued seeing Dr. Chandler. Because you want to know the craziest thing about that entire incident?” I didn’t wait for either of them to answer. “It worked. Janie started talking to Hannah again.” (c) Well, sometimes a kid does need to went it, even chewing themselves or whatever.
I’d trained myself a long time ago not to get excited. That was when you got hurt. (c)
I tried to pretend I was happy and excited about the baby, but all I could think about was Janie and how it would affect her. (c) Horrible attitude.
She jumped up and kicked Cole’s carrier. “He’s stupid. And ugly. Ugly, stupid baby!” She kicked the carrier again, and it fell on its side. Cole rolled onto the floor. (c) Nice.
He’d still trade his life for hers. (c) Well, he about did. And his wife's (a chunk) and her sister's (wholesale) and his newborn son's (a large chunk).
“Not an inch, but technically, their bones grow nine millimeters per day, so they are taller.” (c)
Seriously, had kids grown 0.9 cm per day, by 10 years they would get to be 32.85 mt (=10 years * 365 days * 0.9 cm / 100 (cm per mt))
I’m okay with not having a happy ending, but an ENDING would be nice. I feel like the book ended in what should have been the end of a chapter.
Good book, although I found the husband, Christopher, INFURIATING.
One word to sufficiently describe this book: DISTURBING!!!
Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife, Hannah, have been struggling with infertility for years. Hannah, now 41, has all but given up hope of having children until.....
A young girl is found abandoned and walking alone through a parking lot covered in blood, malnourished, and once examined, is found to have multiple old and new bone fractures, none of which have ever been treated. Once thought to be a toddler it turns out after surgery that she is actually 6 years old. Christopher, being an orthopedic surgeon, is the one to perform the many surgeries she requires and from here he keeps a close vigil on young Janie. When it comes time for Janie to be released from the hospital and entered into the foster care system Christopher is just beside himself. He ever so casually brings up to Hannah the idea of them taking in Janie. After all this may be the blessing they have been waiting for. Hannah is reluctant but nevertheless agrees and from here their lives will never be the same again.
We have alternating chapters between Christoper, Hannah, and Piper (Janie's social worker) and they all work beautifully to move the story forward. The entire time your reading you know that it is leading up to something big but that reveal doesn't come until the last 25% which will have you furiously flipping the pages.
Lucinda Berry has penned quite the nightmarish tale. This was my first read by her but I assure you it will NOT be my last. I'm going to get my greedy grabby hands on anything she has written. 5 terrifying stars!
**This book is not for the faint of heart and has instances of child and animal abuse so if those are triggers for you then I suggest passing this one by.**