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.
A talented special education teacher with a gift for writing, Hayden dramatically describes the difficulties and joys of working with a small group of severely emotionally handicapped children. The centerpiece of this tale, though, is Ladbrook Taylor, mother of one of the children. Lad is very beautiful, very wealthy, highly educated, yet emotionally fractured, withdrawn, and alcoholic. She joins Hayden in the classroom as a volunteer aide. This potentially explosive situation gradually leads to a deepening relationship between the two women that ultimately allows Hayden to help Lad. In the process, Lad reveals her startling past, containing buckets of melodrama, easily on par with the juciest TV soaps. Riveting reading. Carol R. Glatt, Northeastern Hospital of Philadelphia