ONE, TWO, THREE. . . THE STORY OF MATT, A FERAL CHILD by Eleanor Craig

ONE, TWO, THREE. . . THE STORY OF MATT, A FERAL CHILD

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Was he retarded, autistic, schizophrenic? When Matt first appeared at the counseling center, even hardened professionals gaped. At six years old, he could not speak or gesture, was not toilet trained, and showed only fleeting signs of human sensibility. He clung to his mother like an infant and wailed incessantly. Through persistence, Craig unraveled the story, and it's a doozy. Matt was over-infantilized by a mother who needed his dependence on her much as her husband needed her housebound dependence on him. The mother, Nellie, was unable to dial a phone or make a friend; she cheerfully reported the failure of Craig's several suggestions for socializing the boy and laughed gleefully when he whizzed fresh excrement past her head. And when he did take tentative steps forward, Nellie, feeling threatened, tried to sabotage them. But Craig kept at it, and what emerged was grotesque but open to solution. Eventually Matt could speak, attend special classes, offer comfort to a friend. With a little encouragement, Nellie turned into a telephone tyrant and found a neighborhood woman glad for company; she also came to recognize hex own resistance. Craig keeps up the suspense, includes some startling behind-the-scenes scenes, and shows herself to be a patient, insightful therapist who gets results. Kirkus found Craig's account of her work with disturbed children (P.S. Your Not Listening, 1972) meaningful but ""a little peanut buttery."" This is just as you-gotta-believe readable.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1978
Publisher: McGraw-Hill