Monday, October 27, 2008

Little Boy Broken


Jeremy Todd
Modern History Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690712
Reviewed by Richard Blake for Reader Views (9/08)

"Little Boy Broken" is Jeremy Todd's story.  This is a case study of a victim of child abuse and the long-term impact on his life. This is not simply a story of a dysfunctional family.  It is a story of unimaginable and unspeakable brutality to a young child. It is all the more appalling by the shocking acts of abuse, physical, verbal, and sexual over a period of twelve years.
The story begins as Jeremy tells of awaking from a nightmare screaming.  He goes on to introduce his family and develops a picture of his father's background, demand for dominance, and cruelty to his children. This background gives credence to the story that follows.
Jeremy was a top student always doing his work until the day he was molested by his father.  His grades dropped, his behavior changed. His teacher badgered him instead of looking for the root cause for this change in behavior. The school principal joined in the cycle of abuse by getting permission from Jeremy's parents to punish him by "paddling" for his uncooperative conduct.
Educators, teachers, and school administrators did not recognize the symptoms of abuse and the traumatic devastation this played on a child's mind. The haughty school administrator missed or intentionally ignored the signs of physical abuse and "stole" the one thing Jeremy had left, the solace and peace he found through his school classroom and his friends.
Twenty-one years later Jeremy visited a mental health expert, a therapist, Dr. Sam Donaldson. Through the dialog between Dr. Donaldson and Jeremy as he revealed his story, the reader gains a deeper understanding of the long-term effects of child abuse, and a hope for the future. Jeremy learned that the feelings of shame, pain, and embarrassment he endured could be transformed into personal strength through these new insights he began putting his life back together again.
Dr. Donaldson helped Jeremy understand that his flashback experiences as well as hearing voices were a result of blocking out painful childhood experiences. Dr. Sam explained these as symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and disassociation resulting from the images burned in his memory, stored away to be revealed at another time.
Jeremy has been accused by his family of fabricating his story based on an alcohol-induced fantasy. Although Jeremy turned to alcohol to find momentary peace he remained optimistic throughout his ordeal. For a time he lost faith. He later identified his life with the sufferings of Job of the Old Testament.
Jeremy has been encouraged by therapists for years to share his experience in writing to help others face their issues.
The story of Shawn H., a fifteen-year-old boy, kidnapped by a pedophile predator at age 11, was the motivation Jeremy needed to publish his story. Shawn was put through the same brainwashing Jeremy had experienced. Jeremy identified in Shawn "an uncommon will and inner strength" to face each new day.
This true life story reads like a novel. The characters are well developed and become the real people they are. The bitter truth is horrific and unbelievable; however, it is repeatedly happening all around us. "Little Boy Broken" is an important book for parents, educators, counselors, mental health therapists, pastors, and first responders, to family related emergency calls. Heart wrenching!

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