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Missing Pieces

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2008

    Not Your Typical Memoir

    One of the things I love about being a reviewer is that I get to read so many books, in genres that I might otherwise overlook. 'Missing Pieces: A Woman¿s Search for her Birth Family' is one of those books. Don¿t let the genre/topic of this book fool you. This is not your typical memoir. 'Missing Pieces' follows the journey of young Cheryl as she is torn from her family and the tumultuous effects this has on her life. With an alcoholic father and overwhelmed mother, Cheryl still managed to feel love from her older siblings. But the State felt otherwise and took charge of the situation. Soon, all the children were removed from the home and placed in foster care. Originally placed with a caring couple in a big farmhouse, Cheryl watched as one after the other of her siblings was adopted. Eventually, she too was adopted. Life at first seemed bright for the curious girl with her adoptive parents. But slowly the child¿s mother began to change and violence erupted. With a father who was absent for long periods of time due to his work, Cheryl was at the mercy of her adoptive mother. The first signs of trouble are when the mother starts to verbally abuse her young charge. Having never been truly loving toward her new daughter, the adoptive mother¿s angry words soon morphed into physical abuse. This is the beginning of years of incredible hardship for Cheryl who is unable to confide to anyone the torture she is enduring. On the rare occasions when she runs away and tries to talk to her grandparents, she still gets returned to her abusive mother. Cochran tells the story of young Cheryl in the third person, describing the feelings, both emotional and physical, that the child is suffering. The words come from a distant, but caring, narrator. It is clear from the start that Cochran is talking about her own painful childhood and it is done in a sensitive and compassionate way. Some of the episodes of Cheryl¿s abuse are hard to read, but I found myself unable to turn away. ¿Where is her father?¿ ¿Why doesn¿t somebody take the child away?¿ I asked these and other questions as I sped through the book. A unique and interesting twist to the storytelling is that this book is divided into two separate yet equal parts. A few chapters describing Cheryl¿s turmoil, and then, just when you are deep into the story and need to turn that page to see what happens, the next chapter transitions to Cochran¿s search for her birth family. It is a successful technique that keeps the reader turning the page, equally interested in both the search for Cochran¿s family and in following the child¿s life. Quill says: This heartfelt tale is one that should not be overlooked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    Excellent reading that keeps your interest.

    I really enjoyed reading this book and would highly recomend it to others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2002

    Great Book!!!

    Missing Pieces by Sherry Cochran is a wonderful book about a child's search for her natural family. It is very insightful as to what can and has happened in the adoption and foster care system. I applaud her strength in getting through the abuse and not giving up her search for her family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2002

    Missing Pieces

    I was also an abused child. This author says so many things I wish I could have been able to say when I was young. I didn't know how to express those awful feelings I was left with. Even thought it was a horrible thing to endure, the author really helped me know that none of it was my fault and that it really is ok to talk about it. I was just like her when I was a kid: I kept my mouth shut and took it until I was old enough to run away. It's great to know that people can actually overcome a life filled with that kind of madness and still turn out ok. I like to read about the underdog finally gaining power over the adversary. Good job!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2002

    Missing Pieces

    Heartwarming and heartbreaking! Psychologists, social workers, victims of child abuse and people searching for their own birth families will find Missing Pieces gives wonderful insight to any of the above circumstances. Two concurrent stories meet at a climax near the end: The first tale is of the author as a child--neglected by her parents and placed in a foster home--who just needs to be loved. But her innocence is replaced with all the emotional survival skills necessary to withstand her adopted mother: a woman whose ferocious abuse of the little girl puts Mommy Dearest in a category with Mary Poppins. Little Cheryl is beaten, starved and often locked away by herself with only her memories of her true brothers and sisters for comfort and companionship. At an age when children have no narrative skills, the author is able to put a child¿s wordless emotions into language and enlighten readers about the confusion, terror, pain and abandonment felt by all who are forced to endure this kind of torture so early in life. The other story is of an adult Sherry¿s search for the family from whom she was separated so long ago: all the near misses, false leads, high hopes and subsequent let-downs that finally end in a tender and tearful reunion, first with her brother, then with the rest of her never forgotten family. This book swings from moments of terror to touching realizations as the stalwart child grows, through her suffering, into a powerful woman and makes us realize once again that human beings are always stronger than they think they can be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2002

    Missing Pieces

    Sherrys' thoughtful and insightive narration of her childhood traumas and her adulthood triumphs really struck a chord with me. In my life there has been no abuse or neglect. Im one of the lucky ones that did not have to suffer through these horrors in my family. The reason why this book had such an effect on me was because it really opened my eyes to the terrible and alarming situation in the foster and childcare programs in America. These programs that are supposed to be 'best' for the children, are not what they are supposed to be. Since reading this book Ive done research on the net on the problem and have found that many of the problems that were present In Sherrys' time are still evident today. This really disturbed me. I for one am not going to sit back and do nothing. I urge everyone, not only those who have gone through the same type of experience,but everyone who has a child or who is close to a child to read this book. Hopefully, more people will be moved by this book and help to fight against this disease that has been plaguing our nations childcare programs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2002

    Missing Pieces

    This is such a striking autobiography! How did this child ever get to be a functioning adult, let alone one who was able to go back into all that and describe in such detail the dreadful abuse she suffered for so long? I'm surprised she's not sitting in a corner just rocking and drooling. There's a lot of spirit in her writing and plenty of power behind the words. Does this author have another book coming out any time soon?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2002

    Missing Pieces

    The book, 'Missing Pieces' by Sherry Cochran was such a joy to read! It gave me some wonderful personal insight on what foster children must sometimes have to go through. The way she wrote the book through two different points of view (her as a child and her as a grown woman) reaches the reader is very effectively. This is a wonderful book that will make you cry, laugh, and gasp all at the same time so read it!

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