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review 2017-04-08 02:58
Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy is about a young boy who is sent to an orphanage at the age of six after his mother passes away. This story is taken place during the Great Depression. Bud is determined to find his biological father while he is moving from the orphanage to different families. I read this story a couple of years ago and thought it was fantastic.


This novel could be read in a 3-5th grade classroom aloud, or it could be read in 6-8th grade. I would use this story to have comprehension, analysis and theme discussions as reading it aloud in the class. I would have 5th grade students choose one object or person from the story that is a symbolic representation and have them write about it. For 3rd or 4th graders, I would have them choose one of the main characters and create a word web describing that character.

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review 2015-08-16 02:44
Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade - Review
Orphan Number Eight - Kim Van Alkemade

Orphan Number Eight presents a stunning backdrop of the evil horrors unveiled in the early years of medical experimentation with x-rays; devoid of morals, federal regulation, or any semblance of human dignity. How important it is to have fictional accounts of vitally important yet devastating consequences of people in power making immoral decisions over children, no less children cast into orphanages as a result of life's tragic turns.  Who could speak to orphans human rights other than government that is inadequate or has poorly regulated resources? Are we better off today than a century ago?


Radiologic experimentation on orphans was carried out by Dr Mildred Solomon both for the advancement of medical knowledge and, more so, to forward her ambition to make a name for her through historical medical discoveries. Ambition in this novel is interwoven with the struggle of female physicians, as has been known to occur through most of the 20th century, to make their mark while striving to prove that they are worthy of the title, Doctor. Not the least of the struggles, a young orphan, Rachel, who struggles with family, interpersonal, human aesthetic, and sexual identities throughout the novel. Rachel learns to thrive despite the many oppositional forces she encounters.


Rachel forms friends and enemies in the Orphaned Hebrews Home, amongst the staff and her fellow orphans. There are tender moments depicted between Dr Solomon and Rachel, primarily during their interactions in experiments; painting an endearing canvas of the nurturing mother in Mildred, contrasted with a childlike trust imbued by Rachel; all done in the name of “justified” research. As a nurse in her 40's, Rachel later learns that the physical maladies from which she suffers, aesthetically and medically, were the result of experiment; not necessary intervention. Medically speaking, this novel is abundant in accurate descriptions, historical landmark events, and realistic staff-patient interactions; all engrained by and for institutions of medicine.


Rachel befriends Naomi in the Orphanage. Their relationship becomes a focus throughout the book, subtly morphing from childhood sexual experimentation into an unmistakable love relationship. The novel ends (not on the collision of medical conflicts built up by page 376; not on the social ramifications of orphanages on their inhabitants; not on the deadly fallout of adultery on the family unit; nor on the conflict of Jewish funding of institutions engaged in legalized abuse of children) but on the development of a lesbian relationship that is never mentioned on the cover synopsis. It becomes THE focus of this novel, thereby negating the true significance of the horrors of abuse that pervaded New York orphanages in the early 1900's; nor to the honor of the Author’s grandfather, for whom the novel is meant to be 'historical' and personal.


Overall the novel is set in two timelines and presents an interesting read. I recommend it to those with medical backgrounds, as I am a physician and felt the medical descriptions, and therefore the research, to be pretty spot on and captivating. I felt both a letdown for the reader, with respect to the ending, and for those whose suffering was aptly validated by exposure of the greed and egregious mistakes of professionals entrusted to care of children, barren of alternatives to home. I would recommend this novel to anyone who both loves historical fiction and can tolerate derailing of a great story onto separable social agendas.


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2015-02-12 05:56
Asylum: A Mystery - Jeannette de Beauvoir

By Jeannette De Beauvoir
ISBN: 9781250045393
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/Minotaur
Publication Date: 3/10/2015
Format: Harcover
My Rating: 4 Stars


A special thank you to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

ASYLUM is a shocking, disturbing, and harrowing, yet absorbing mystery by Jeannette de Beauvoir, of innocent children, orphans— being transported to insane asylums in the middle of the night, subjected to torture, harsh treatment, appalling and inhuman experiments, mind control, medical experimentation, and sexual abuse at the hands of psychiatrists, priests, nuns and administrators.

Montreal had been experiencing random killings.Women all over the city were being advised to take precautions not to take the bus or the Metro alone, purchase extra locks, and tone up the security. Now the body count is up to four women, in the middle of prime tourist season; found brutally murdered and posed on park benches, throughout the city over several months.

Martine LeDuc is the director of public relations the mayor's office in Montreal and she becomes involved in helping police detective Julian Fletcher, after her boss becomes concerned they are rapidly becoming the murder capital of North America --concerned about the city’s image.

Being she is in public relations it is her duty to help smooth over this situation. She is not the police and not qualified; however, she is to act as a liaison between the parties. What connects these four women? Appears they may have a connection to the Cité de Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Asylum.

We hear from a desperate child (diary) being transported from an orphanage to a strange, scary, and chilling place of screams, offering no protection where the only lesson that mattered, was how to survive--to a disturbing investigation (Watson/Holmes), uncovering dark political secrets dating back to the 1950s.

From an orphanage scandal in the 1950s and sixties with churches running orphanages or asylums where at the time it was a sin to have baby out of wedlock—a social sin, or families who could not afford their children, or one parent – they were left at the orphanage.

However, some discovered federal grants and support money offered from Canadian government for kids in asylums more than orphanages. Suddenly a number of orphans became mentally ill, sane turned to insane and they were all locked up together.

Quebec soon labeled these children, either crazy or mentally deficient and locked them away (Duplessis orphans) and after he died, they kept taking orphans thru the sixties. From straitjackets, electroshock therapy, hydrotherapy, excessive medication, lobotomies, where humans became guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies.

Martine finds herself imprisoned underneath the old asylum, tunnels, drugged, thinking she may be in purgatory or dead--as a race against time for a chilling and complex suspense mystery.

The author delivers a heartbreaking tale— yet informative account surrounding political tensions, and controversial issues during this shocking time—much of what fictional protagonist Martine LeDuc learned about Montreal’s past, is unfortunately true.

As the author mentions, yet today, evidence reveals the Duplessis Orphans, railroaded into psychiatric hospitals as retarded and mentally ill, were being administered the powerful drug of chlorpromazine as early as 1947 with debilitating effects.

An alarming reality, the federal government offered more monetary support for asylums than it did for orphanages—a financial incentive, plus the medical experimentation reward, as these institutions continued the scheme developed from the 1940-1960s, obtaining additional federal funding for thousands of children.

Appears there still remains controversy over the old cemetery at the Cite de St-Jean De-Dieu asylum with nameless children. The author offers a partial list of those identified, as a list of minors under the age of 21 buried in Saint Jean de Dieu Asylum Cemetery, between the years 1933– 1958.

From the chilling front cover, to the detailed descriptions, extensive research, vivid settings of Montreal, political tensions, and real-life events; Jeannette de Beauvoir, delivers an absorbing mystery suspense; an intense page-turner thriller.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1190587484
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text 2014-06-18 11:19
Liking for my Photo
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

I have been wanting to read Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children  for a long while now.

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review 2014-05-14 00:00
Burn the Orphanage Volume 1: Born to Lose Tp
Burn the Orphanage Volume 1: Born to Lose Tp - Sina Grace,Daniel Freedman I can understand what this tribute to side scrolling beat 'em ups is trying to do, but this is a mess. So much so that I kept checking that I hadn't missed panels or pages.
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