Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, both work at the hospital as an orthopedic surgeon and nurse respectively. One night, a small child is admitted, in bad condition nothing short of horrifying. The child, Janie, is around 6 years old, but looks more like a toddler in size. Janie suffers from multiple ailments, physical ones due to abuse, and mental ones, due to neglect. We learn that Janie’s mother was killed, and the police found Janie bound and tied up in a trailer with chains. Janie’s recuperation is a long road ahead, but the Bauers, who had formed a connection with Janie at the hospital, takes it upon themselves to foster Janie as they may be in the perfect profession to care for someone like Janie.
This was a horrifyingly gripping read. Each page made me impatient to get to the next, however disturbing the details grew. Told from the POVs of Christopher Bauer and Hannah Bauer(Janie’s adoptive parents) and Piper Goldstein(Janie’s case worker), enough story was given and enough story was held back to show a brilliant case of unreliable narration. The pacing was great, not too detail-y and boring, kept me invested for sure. Short and concise chapters, just the way I like it.
At times, the adoptive parents were naive and possible stupid but i can’t fault them for that. They were first time parents who took on a situation bigger than they can handle. Right off the bat, I knew that these characters and their story wouldn’t end wrapped in a pretty little bow. Again, something i like. I read elsewhere about the abrupt ending, but i honestly can’t complain about it. Some stories need to challenge readers to interpret their own understanding of what happens.
This book gave realistic insight into the repercussions of child abuse and neglect. As much as I was disgusted and heartbroken about what happened to Janie, the author also showed how truly sinister she could be.