Betty's Childby Donald Dempsey
In the tradition of Frank McCourt and Angela's Ashes, Don Dempsey uses Betty's Child to tell the story of life with his cruel and neglectful mother, his mother's abusive boyfriends, and hypocritical church leaders who want to save
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A Hoffer Award Grand Prize Finalist, and recognized by the Hoffer Awards as one of the best new memoirs of the year.
In the tradition of Frank McCourt and Angela's Ashes, Don Dempsey uses Betty's Child to tell the story of life with his cruel and neglectful mother, his mother's abusive boyfriends, and hypocritical church leaders who want to save twelve-year-old Donny's soul but ignore threats to his physical well-being. Meanwhile, Donny's best friend is trying to recruit Donny to do petty theft and deal drugs for a dangerous local thug.
In a memoir that has also been compared to The Liars' Club, The Glass Castle, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, and Studs Lonigan, young Donny is a real-life cross between Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield as he tells his story, with only his street smarts and sense of humor to guide him. Donny does everything he can to take care of himself and his younger brothers, but with each new development, the present becomes more fraught with peril--and the future more uncertain.
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Meet the Author
Don Dempsey experienced childhood abuse and neglect first hand, but went on to find business success and a fulfilling family life as an adult. "If you're lucky, you make it to adulthood in one piece," says Don. "But there's no guarantee the rest of your life is going to be any better. Abused kids are often plagued by fear and insecurity. They battle depression and have trouble with relationships. In the worst cases, abused children perpetuate the cycle."
But Don is living proof that you can overcome a childhood of abuse and neglect. "You start by letting go of as much of the guilt (yes, abused kids feel guilty) and as many of the bad memories as possible. At the same time, you hold on to the things that helped you survive. For me, it was the belief that you can make life better by working at it and earning it. It helps to have a sense of humor, too."
Some of Don's experiences will make you cringe, but you'll want to keep reading because of Don's natural storytelling ability and sense of humor. And in the end, you'll appreciate hearing Don's inspiring story.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I finished this book a few days ago and I still can't stop thinking about the characters. I really hope this author writes another one to continue the story of what happened next with Betty and the boys. Excellent book!
Betty's Child is aptly named, as it summarizes the author's overt relationship with his mother, as a young boy growing up in a home with a neglectful mother. The author narrates his own life story via the prematurely wizened voice of a young boy who was forced to take on the responsibility of absent parents; although `Betty' lived in the home and kept various men in her bed, Betty was never a true mother figure, nor were the men substitutes for Donny's absent father, whose abandonment left a hole in Donny's heart. Donny presents as a highly intelligent child whose ambitions in life were stifled by the environment he was forced to live in, but his indomitable strength of character, even as a child, shone through. Donny's wit and skillful use of language as an adult author has made this book a work to be noticed. The allusion to how his life was virtually the antithesis of a Norman Rockwell scene is no doubt part of the inspiration behind the unique cover design. I was not a fan of the cover until I realized the cover was also a significant part of this story. Sara Niles/Josephine Thompson Author
Absolutely was enthralled with this novel. From beginning to end. It is a heart touching yet heart wrenching story of a very young man who grew up in an environment no child should ever have to experience. His circumstances were way beyond his control due to his selfabsorbed mother who never really showed him any kind of maternal affection. I will always remember this book and would highly reccomend it all 1195 pages. I cannot even imagine the feelings of fear throughout his journey. His bravery was incredible. You will feel many emotions as you read this riveting story.
I read this book in a couple of days; it was so well written, but such a sad story. I have had trouble forgetting about the characters.
A story about surviving an abusive and uncaring mother-
Betty's Child is an intense account of a young boy growing up in a toxic environment where almost everyone he trusted betrayed him and some even abused him physically. The book is well written at a fast pace with amazing insights into the motives of his associates from someone 12 years old. The only thing that bothered me was the language in the dialogue. I know this is realistic, but I found it offensive and skipped over some of those parts. The book illuminated a world none of us want to live in, but some are forced to exist in. We all need to be aware of this so we can help these children if possible.