Another Place at the Table
Summary (from Goodreads): The startling and ultimately uplifting narrative of one woman's thirteen-year experience as a foster parent.
For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers; and teenage parents who aren't equipped for parenthood. All this, in addition to raising her three biological sons and two adopted daughters. What would motivate someone to give herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? For Harrison, the answer is easy.
Another Place at the Table is the story of life at our social services' front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison's home, nearly destroy it. It is the frank first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption.
Marcie's Review: This book managed to convince me that I need to be a foster parent, while at the same time making me feel like I could absolutely never handle it.
I loved reading about how Kathy and her family opened up their home to kids in emergency situations and made them feel loved and wanted. Kathy had so much patience and understanding when dealing with horrific situations, and she tried to see the best in all her foster kids. She was careful to point out some of her shortcomings, too, describing times when she lost her patience or didn't act entirely in the best interests of the child. The writing could have been a little smoother at times, but it was quick and readable, although the subject matter was very sad and hard to read about. I really cared about some of the kids in the book, and wanted to know more about what happened to them. In fact, for days after I finished this book, I wanted to pick it up and keep reading more. I wish there was a sequel!
I am confused about whether this book was meant to inspire people to become foster parents, since the author spent a lot of time pointing out the flaws in the foster care system and she detailed some of the awful things that happened in her house, while at the same time saying that most foster kids aren't a danger to their foster families.
Marcie's Rating: 5 stars
Becky's Review: I was looking for more out of this book. This book was mainly the story of several children who were in Kathy's home for extensive periods of time. I wanted to know more of Kathy's feelings and how she dealt with all the situations in her house. While she did admit to mistakes she made, I didn't get a true sense of what her life was like and how she managed everything. I wanted to know more about foster care from her perspective and less about the specific kids that she had in her house even though I found their stories interesting. After looking back at the description, perhaps I thought this book was going to be something that it didn't promise to be. I felt like at times the organization didn't stick to being sequential (mainly at the beginning) and that threw me off. I also thought that the policy was a but dry but somewhat interesting. My rating no way reflects what I think about Kathy and her family. I am amazed at what she was able to do and I admire her for taking in so many children and being willing to accept so many children with very troubled backgrounds. My rating is based on what I thought about the book.
Becky's Rating: 3 1/2 stars