Torn From Normal
By Martin Bartloff
A Snowflake Book
"Happiness is a disease happy people suffer; I suffer my own diseases, but happiness isn't one of them."
Sometimes books are not an escape--rather they are an incredibly real story that makes a long-term impression on those who read it. But how do you work to ensure that the book is placed into the hands of those who may benefit from it, but do not yet know it? Because, many times, being Torn From Normal may happen in the blink of an eye...
Many of those who face this are teenagers who find themselves in foster homes or on the streets. Martin Bartloff, the author, has been a foster parent and has written his first novel based upon actual events...
Andy was his name...
He was twelve when his father died. He had been a long-haul trucker who was not home often, so Andy had been waiting until he was old enough to be taken "on the road" so he could spend more time with his dad. With his father gone so often, Andy was very close to his mother and perhaps protected too much. For whatever reasons, he was 17 but had little experience in being independent. In fact, he spent much of his time in fantasy of doing things--traveling, driving his own car and living in dreams of worlds he had yet to explore.
Andy had been invited to go on vacation with his friend and his family; and it was the first time he would be away from his home, his mother. Excited, he had been looking forward to it until he learned that his mother was also going to be leaving home, with a friend of his father's who he had never liked! Especially around his mother! They had argued about her trip and Andy had hesitated about leaving on his vacation.
While on vacation, Andy learned that his mother had been in a car accident; he was immediately put on a plane, but by the time he got home, his mother had died. What would happen to him? He knew only one thing; he was not staying around to find out!
It's easy for young kids to hook up on the streets--all too easy. The first ride he got was with a group that was heading for a concert. One of the girls even gave him a sweat shirt to change into since he had been soaked by the rain. But he had no money to buy a ticket for the concert and he started out on his own again. The next group he joined was into some bad things...
It was through the actions of this group, who stole a wallet, that Andy met Danny and his father. Before that day was over, they had saved him from a beating or possibly death! Danny's Dad had been taking in foster kids for many years, but this time it was Danny who found himself responding to the boy who was probably the same age, but who looked and acted like a frightened, beaten puppy.
Torn From Normal by Martin Bartloff is a book that should sit on the shelf of every social worker, counselor or foster care employee. It should be available to pull each time it is important to help an orphan, a teen know that there are still possibilities for them--that there will be people who will love and help them through life after being torn from their home or the life that they had once enjoyed. It should be available for them to read during time spent in group homes and even in juvenile homes... How can it get there? Possibly by having parents read the book and then deciding to donate copies to local agencies?
Let's face it, we'll never know when someone--perhaps your children--will be Torn from Normal. This book is a remarkable, real-to-life story that could possibly save a child, a teenager...You decide how to make that happen. Read this book! It contains important telephone and site information about suicide.
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