Born to Adversity, by Keith Julius, takes us into the scary and worrying world of childhood mental illness. Laura Reed is a solo mum, struggling to bring up twin nine-year-old boys, Aaron and Evan, while living with her grandparents and her live-in boyfriend, Ted. When Aaron has an accident at a playground and he is rushed to hospital with a broken leg, the Doctor on duty finds something more than just a simple break of his fibula. There is clear evidence on Aaron’s body of abuse and Laura Reed’s world turns upside down. Who could have possibly hurt her little boy? As is required by State Law, Child Services are called in to investigate and the children are initially removed from the family home until a hearing can be scheduled. A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer is appointed to advocate and act on behalf of the two boys and the family is caught up in the middle of investigation that could alter their lives forever.
I found this trip into a hitherto unknown world, to me, to be enlightening and a little frightening. Author Keith Julius has used a fictional story to highlight the tough and often thankless job done by Child Services and especially CASA volunteers all over the country, plus looking at the problem of childhood mental illness. Born to Adversity is a compelling and gripping read that had me unable to put the book down. The author’s style is easy to read, conversational almost and he grasped both the dialogue and thought processes of a nine-year-old, to a tee. There is always something extra about a story that entertains as well as informs about some aspect of our everyday lives and this book does that extremely well. Laura Reed described what was happening to her as, “every parent’s nightmare” and I’m sure, all parents, like me, will empathise and understand those feelings. The author captures the heartache and loneliness of a solo parent exceptionally well. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story that makes you think.