Review Title: Mother By Heart (review of The Children of Main Street by Merilyn Howton Marriott)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
***** 5 Stars
This book glows with personality. The characters are real, and their situations are as relevant as the daily tv news.The reader gets drawn in by the drama within a family and child psychologist’s office. The depth of caring on the doctor’s part leaves her on the edge of losing everything she holds dear on the personal level along with her license to practice as a therapist. The stakes are high for a professional who wants to be a mother herself but has difficulty conceiving. The plot line is brilliantly constructed to enhance desire to keep turning the pages to see what will happen.
This book, in a sense, could be called an issues book because it brings to light stories of neglect and abuse of children by parents who are damaged themselves or are just plain mean-hearted. The answers do not easily resolve into black and white but become a cloudy gray for the psychologist to consider. She has to decide what to do based on incomplete information. A wrong decision could even result in a child’s death. The other issue covered in the book relates to infertility and its effect upon an otherwise happy marriage. The book carries special appeal for those interested in child welfare or infertility. The two issues covered together create synergy to move the story along with plot twists and surprising outcomes.
The reader, most certainly, will want to read more books by this engaging author. She has an ear for children’s voices and cues to their brokenness. The therapist, a Christian, relies on her faith in God to help her weather the storms of emotional battering inherent in her profession. Many in her field of psychology may use ‘higher power’, but this therapist calls on her God. His strength carries her through difficult times.
This book contains no cursing or bad language, or any graphic details, but it does describe in general terms the abuse of innocent children, suicide, and murder. For that reason, those who are preteen and younger might be scared when hearing those parts of the book. PG13, in other words.
Anyone who is interested to know what goes on in a therapist/psychologist’s office would get a thorough picture by reading this book. And anyone who wants to know what happens behind the scenes of the daily news stories would become better informed through reading this book. Be prepared to have your compassion level go way up for both the children who are mistreated and for the professionals who work hard to make a better life for them.