One Child by Torey Hayden Review

one childMan, this book. Okay so this book was another hand-me-downs from my mother that I received in the past week and I am so fascinated by it. I read it all in one day because I was that intrigued by the relationship between Sheila and Torey and how it fluctuates between good days and bad days.

This is, I believe, a true story based upon Torey’s experience with children that have difficult upbringings and backgrounds and her special classroom that people refer to as the “crazy group”. This class consists of 8 children that are unable to fit into a standard functioning classroom so Torey steps in and develops their manners and reactions between being with other people. Then a child called Sheila is introduced into the class as the 9th child and Torey is faced with a challenge that she struggles with.

I really, really liked this book. I enjoyed watching the development of all the characters and especially fell for Sheila’s character. Being only 6 she is exceptionally smart and had a unreasonably difficult upbringing having been abandoned by her mother on the side of the street and separated with her brother whom her mother chose to take with her instead. Yet, the viscousness that comes out is not necessarily surprising but more worrying, at least from my point of view.

Here is a small summary of the book if you’re interested in picking it up:

Six-year-old Sheila was abandoned by her mother on a highway when she was four. A survivor of horrific abuse, she never spoke, never cried, and was placed in a class for severely retarded children after committing an atrocious act of violence against another child. Everyone thought Sheila was beyond salvation – except her teacher, Torey Hayden. With patience, skill, and abiding love, she fought long and hard to release a haunted little girl from her secret nightmare – and nurture the spark of genius she recognised trapped within Sheila’s silence. This is the remarkable story of their journey together – an odyssey of hope, courage, and inspiring devotion that opened the heart and mind of one lost child to a new world of discovery and joy.

This is definitely a thought-provoking and psychologically fascinating book that I would definitely recommend to people that are especially interested in the development of children with different upbringings and surroundings.


So, there isn’t much to review about this book as what I’ve previously said has summed up my feelings on this book but, I just wanted to also add a few more comments on some parts I especially liked in this book.

I enjoyed reading the growing relationship between Torey and Sheila as the trust develops and the way in which Torey can use stories and even hair clips to get Sheila to open up to her. The first scene where we see Sheila’s anger with the fish in the fish tank was quite worrying as it’s quite a horrific thing to do, especially for a kid of that age. But, the way in which Torey dealt with it was interesting to read.

A scene I especially liked was the scene with the courtroom where Torey and her lawyer friend Chad fought to have Sheila stay in her classroom and then they went out for pizza and bought her a beautiful new dress. That was so touching, and when she asked if they could “pretend to be a real family” I teared up because it was so touching.

Then came the scene with her Uncle Jerry (if I’m correct) and I couldn’t allow myself to continue reading that scene until I’d calm down from the initial shock. The way in which a person could do something like that, especially to a small child is disgusting and the way in which Sheila came to class and spent time acting as if nothing had happened was emotionally hard to read.

I don’t particularly feel like I can really talk much else about this book as it is a true story based upon real people’s lives but it had a huge impact on me as it is something I am interested in and hope to do and get involved in the future at some point.

Language/Style: 8 points
Characters: 9 points
Story: 8 points
Plot: 8 points

Giving this book a total of 33 points out of 40 points.

Favorite Part: “But belief in the human soul escapes all reason and flies beyond the frail fingers of our knowledge.”

5 thoughts on “One Child by Torey Hayden Review

Add yours

  1. Normally I wouldn’t get this type of book but maybe it’s time for a change.. Going to add this to my TBR!

    1. You definitely should! It’s such a good book especially when you’re in need for a change. The writing and story itself is superb and it really allows for you to get invested into it and has an ending which I, personally, was extremely satisfied with:)

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