Blotner (Facing the World Without Love, 2010) explores the harsh reality of foster care via one’s man story.
Intent on portraying the horrors of foster care in America, Blotner’s as-told-to memoir tells the story of Ron Huber, his friend and colleague. After developing a friendship with Blotner, Huber revealed that he had grown up in abusive foster homes and still suffers the consequences of malnutrition. Based on Huber’s stories and recollections, Blotner has created an affecting account of his friend’s childhood. The book is narrated from Huber’s perspective, and Blotner never steps forward to offer his own authorial insight or commentary, although Huber does. The use of such narrative layers may leave the reader wondering about the writing process and what it was like for Huber to share the details of his life with Blotner; the result is captivating and heartbreaking. As a child, Huber and his brother, Vic, were taken to a childrens home when their parents gave them up. The mother of the first foster family punished the boys relentlessly; she denied them food and stuck Vic’s head in a toilet. After a short stint back with their parents, they were sent to live with a new family who used them as farm laborers and punished them by forcing them to kneel on bricks for hours. The book includes the fascinating foster-care reports written about Huber as well as his foster parents, which underscore the social workers’ significant misperceptions and also reveal the ineptitude of the entire system. It seems that social workers at the time considered any home, even an abusive one, good enough. Although the last chapters portray the lasting, negative effects of foster care on Huber, as well as how he has persevered, the events are too lightly sketched.
Illuminates the lasting impacts of mental and physical abuse on foster-care children.