Tuesday 4 June 2019

Book ~ "The Forgotten Child: The powerful true story of a boy abandoned as a baby and left to die" (2019) Richard Gallear

From Goodreads ~ Based on a true story, "The Forgotten Child" is a heart-breaking memoir of an abandoned newborn baby left to die, his tempestuous upbringing, and how he came through the other side.

It’s a freezing winter’s night in 1954. A baby boy, a few hours old, is left by his mother, wrapped in nothing but two sheets of newspaper and hidden amongst the undergrowth by a canal bank. An hour later, a late-shift postman is walking wearily home when he hears a faint cry. He finds the newspaper parcel and discovers the newborn, white-cold and whimpering, inside.

After being rushed to hospital and against all odds, the baby survives. He’s baptised by the hospital chaplain as Richard. Everything feels as though it’s looking up; Richard is put into local authority care and regains his health. However, after nearly five blissful years in a rural care home filled with loving friends, it soon unfolds that his turbulent start in life is only the beginning.

Based on a devastating true story, this inspirational memoir follows Richard’s traumatic birth, abusive childhood, and search for the truth. 

When he was a few hours old, Richard was found wrapped in newspaper under a bridge.  Fortunately he was found by a passerby who called the police and he was taken to the hospital.  He was put in a children's home where he stayed until he was almost five years old ... children could stay in there until they were five and then were moved on to another home.  Married couple Pearl and Arnold decide to foster him just before he turned five.

Before he even gets to their home, though, Arnold is beating him up.  Despite Pearl's protests and defense of him, Arnold's beatings happen practically every night.  Nothing Richard could do made Arnold happy and he paid for it, sometimes even ending up the doctor's or the hospital.  After all the happy years he had spent at the children's home, this treatment by Arnold was definitely a shock to him.

When he's old enough, Richard leaves home and gets away from the abuse.  It's not until many years later that he finally finds out the truth about his birth and who is parents were.

This was an interesting but hard book to read.  It was sad reading about Richard's mother leaving him under a bridge to die.  But then his life was happy when he was in the children's home.  Having Pearl and Arnold be his foster parents should have been a good thing but it wasn't.  Richard was quite graphic in the descriptions of his beatings ... that was tough to read.  I'm glad that he seems to have had a happy life once he left Pearl and Arnold's.

I can understand that Pearl wanted a child and it was obviously her idea to foster/adopt Richard.  But she also knew what an abusive dominating A-hole her husband was ... so why would she subject a defenseless child to that kind of environment?!  And once Richard arrived in the home and was beaten daily and nightly, she selfishly made him stay rather than returning him to the children's home for a better life.

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