Shattered LIves: children who live with courage and dignity

Shattered Lives: children who live with courage and dignity


Camila Batmanghelidjh

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

ISBN 978 184310 603 6

This book is intriguing, dramatic and extremely emotional.

Batmanghelidjh allows vulnerable children to express themselves and, to a reasonable extent, have control over how the reality of their lives is portrayed, which is not generally highlighted in many texts. This is the main strength of Shattered Lives.

Batmanghelidjh, a trained psychotherapist, demonstrates her approach right from the start by engaging the reader through an essentially poetic style of writing, describing how her passion for children’s well-being started from the age of nine.

It also documents her continuous struggle throughout her professional life to give vulnerable children protection, justice and what can only be described as a sanctuary in relation to the work of her two charities.

Among the book’s strengths is the detail provided in seven accounts of the lives of nine abused children. The delivery is highly effective too. However, one possible weakness of Batmanghelidjh’s subjective reporting does suggest bias in relation to how she portrays “modern western society”.

It is an intriguing book, one that clearly encourages a change of approach in terms of policy, professional practice and guidelines. It should appeal to a variety of professionals dealing with children.

Shattered Lives will help practitioners understand the diversity of children’s perception of their lives. On another level, the fascinating yet disturbing life stories told would interest many readers who have a general concern for children’s welfare.

Jane Reeves, research lead in the department of family care and mental health, at Greenwich University

Published in Community Care 5 February 2009

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