Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Broken Child
Cathy Glass

Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Broken Child

Damaged is the true story of the inspiring relationship forged between Cathy, an experienced foster carer and Jodie, her most challenging placement. The book is a memoir, written and narrated by Cathy. The story opens at the local Social Services office, where Cathy is emotionally blackmailed: if she doesn't agree to take Jodie today, she will have to go into a residential care home, which is clearly unsuitable for an eight year old girl. Cathy is wary; Jodie's violence and aggressive behaviour have seen off five carers in four months, and before going into care, she set a family pet on fire. Despite her fears, Cathy decides to accept Jodie.

Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children: Adrian, Paula and Lucy, and greets each of them with a sharp kick to the shins. Later, Cathy asks them for their first impressions. Adrian says she reminds him of Chucky, the doll from the horror film Child's Play. That night, Cathy wakes to find Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face.

Jodie's behaviour improves, as she begins to trust Cathy and the children. She begins to 'disclose', revealing for the first time that she was sexually abused by her father. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and other relatives. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and social services turning a blind eye. Cathy prepares for Christmas, and tries to help Jodie cope with her increasing nightmares and hallucinations. Jodie has to undergo a number of interviews and physical examinations, to build a case to prosecute her parents. Meanwhile, Cathy tries to find a school which will accept someone with Jodie's challenging needs. Christmas and the New Year pass, and Cathy is delighted when Jodie makes friends in her first days at school. However, as Jodie continues to disclose details of her abuse, she becomes withdrawn, with frequent panic attacks.

To cope with the shock, she begins using a number of alternate identities, but seems to be unaware of them when questioned later. Jodie is diagnosed as suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Meanwhile, the police prosecution collapses, when Jodie's former neighbours refuse to testify. Jodie becomes increasingly withdrawn, and is pulled out of school. It's clear she needs psychiatric therapy. Cathy urges Social Services to provide funding for therapy, and eventually a meeting is arranged. Cathy arrives in hope, but is shocked when the panel decide to take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential therapy unit.

Cathy and her children prepare Jodie for the move, and worry that she will see it as yet another rejection. After Jodie leaves, Cathy finds a touching letter from Jodie, asking if Cathy will be her "mummy" when she gets better. Jodie's former neighbours agree to testify after they learn their own daughter was abused, and the paedophile ring are charged and imprisoned.

Book Details:

  • Author: Cathy Glass
  • Published Year: 2007
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Harper Collins
    • Norway: Cappelen
    • Portuguse: Editorial Presenca
    • Denmark: Aschehoug Dansk Forlag
    • Sweden: Norsdedt
    • Poland: Hachette Livre
    • Russia: Ripol
    • Slovakia: Portal
    • Japan: Chuokoron Shinsha
    • France: L’Archipel
    • Brazil: Fundamento
    • Sri Lanka: Fast Publishing
    • Holland: Meulenhof/Boekerij,
    • Germany: Luebbe
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Cathy Glass

Cathy has been a foster carer for over 25 years, during which time she has looked after more than 150 children, of all ages and backgrounds. She is a specialist foster carer, also referred to as a level three carer, which means she often looks after children with complex needs or those with very challenging behaviour. Much of her inspiration for writing comes from fostering. She was awarded a degree in education and psychology, as a mature student. Cathy has always combined fostering with writing, rising very early every morning in order to write, before the day begins with her ever changi...
More about Cathy Glass

Book Reviews

  • "Heartbreaking."
    The Mirror
  • "A true tale of hope."
    OK Magazine
  • "A hugely touching and emotional true tale."
    Star Magazine
  • "Cannot fail to move those who read it."
    Adoption-net
  • "This is truly an amazing book. It gives a real look at what happens behind the story of the abused child. You read about these cases in the newspapers but never really know how it got that bad. Now I know and understand a lot more. It should never happen again."
    Amazon.com
  • "Never have I read such a moving story written in such a clear and flowing style and capturing the terrible effects of abuse on an innocent child. I read it over two evenings sitting up to midnight to finish the remarkable book, unable to put it down until the last page. The author’s flowing and powerful descriptive writing style brought to life not only the terrible abuse of an innocent child but also the author’s obvious love and affection for the poor child and her determination to do all she could to help the child.It is essential reading for anyone who knows, loves and cares for children and I recommend it to all."
    Amazon.com reviewer, William
  • "I read this book and understand better from carers what they have to endure when trying to help the poor little ones hurt and in pain from an abusive background. After reading this book you should then go read A house full of whispers, Then you get both sides of the coin as this book details a story every one should read from the child’s perspective. I would recommend this read."
    Amazon.com reviewer, Bell
  • "Cathy Glass writes a powerful, visual book which cannot fail to unleash a stream of emotions in the reader. The disturbing account of little Jodie’s eight suffering years filled me with despair, and more. The incompetence and short sightedness of the Social Services brought intense anger. But, thanks to the carer Cathy, who introduces stability, structure and most of all love to this damaged child made me realize there is always hope. This is a well written page turner."
    Amazon.com reviewer, Lisa K. Mitchell
  • "This is an important book that should be read by everyone. We are very complacent and have no idea ‘how the other half lives.’ Ms Glass tells us in a moving, honest and shocking way. I read the book through without putting it down, becoming totally immersed in the relationship between this middle class carer and that poor under-class child. Reading the book was a strangely uplifting experience because I felt a glimmering of hope by the time I had finished reading it. I am looking forward to Ms Glass’ next book with eager anticipation.'"
    Amazon.com reviewer, Warren King
  • "I don’t normally read this type of book, but as my wife finished it so I started it. Well done Cathy Glass for bringing this to our attention. I hope the social workers read it! Like many people I have read the reports of abused children in the newspapers but it wasn’t until I read Damaged that I really understood the effect it has on the child. I was horrified, enthralled, and in tears by the end. This book is written by an experienced foster carer and she describes so clearly the effect the dreadful abuse has on the child, and also the effect it has on her family when they hear the little girl talk about what she has suffered. This book is one of the most moving books I have ever read, I couldn’t put it down. It also gives a real insight into fostering and the social services, I hope they take note.  "
    Amazon.com reviewer, B Sutton(France)
  • "Damaged is the best book I’ve read for a year. I was extremely moved by it and also uplifted. I am looking forward to her next book. (Warren, Auckland, NZ  Times on Line)"
    Times Online
  • "A truly harrowing read that made me cry."
    The Sun
  • "  Foster carers rarely get the praise they deserve, but Cathy Glass’s book should change all that."
    First magazine