- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted July 26, 2009
Having worked in the juvenile justice system, I was looking forward to an insider's journal and insights into the children who are involved in the system and the people who work with them. This book is an uneven and, ultimately, unsatisfactory look at both. For unknown reasons, the author gives a false name for the institution at which he worked, although any one who lives in Washington state knows which institution he is writing about. It detracts from being able to take this book seriously, as does his glossary,note section (much of which is just references to entries in his journal) and, even worse, his "cast of characters".
He does do a good job of pointing out the failings of our juvenile justice institutions, including describing uninterested staff, petty bureaucratic internicine fighting, and M.D.'s and PhD's who don't have a clue about the kids they are supposed to be helping. It is stunning that DSHS would hire him, an anthropologist, to work with these kids. And that he would stay there for almost 15 years.
I found this book self-indulgent and depressing. It is nothing greater than notes jotted on an ongoing basis in his journal and then shared with all of us. No great insight; yes, there is some compassion but it is more of a shared trauma than anything else. I do not recommend this book.