Wednesday, 3 June 2009
TRUE LIFE REVIEW: The Trouble with Alex - Melanie Allen
Melanie Allen had a dream -- to adopt a special needs child and provide a stable loving family for her. But her dream turned into a nightmare that would tear her family apart. To all appearances the adopted girl, Alex, was obedient, happy and charming but, over the course of five years, Melanie was left desperate by the undiagnosed behavioural condition of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) -- a problem not uncommon in children who are neglected. Alex festered with the rage and hatred born out of her unimaginable neglect as an infant. The manifestation of her symptoms was so malevolent and destructive that even Melanie's relatives didn't believe her when she told them the truth about Alex. She sought help from social services, to secure a correct diagnosis and support. Instead of receiving help, she was accused of abuse and neglect, resulting in a court case and a near-fatal incident that finally proved her innocence. This shocking story of how a caring, willing family were left powerless and desperate in the face of social services' incompetence is a thought-provoking and page-turning memoir. It is also a powerful, gripping narrative that tells what happens when someone you welcome into your home ends up destroying it, through no fault of their own.
A book that tells the story behind the nightmare of a family who adopted a child with special needs. What comes across however is a tale that is not only very blunt but also hasn’t portrayed the author in a positive light and feels more like a story written as an “I told you so” rather than bringing the struggles of the disabled child to the fore. Not only did the author come across as unprepared physically for the needs of Alex but also she lacked emotional fortitude along with understanding of what she was to put her family through in what felt like an “I adopted her to show myself in a positive light to my community.” Its draining and whilst I’m not saying that what they went through wasn’t a type of hell, it was a situation that they really shouldn’t have been in due to lack of comprehension to the child in questions needs. Interesting and thought provoking.