In foster care after having experienced violence, neglect and sexual abuse as a young child, Eloise, age 14, has created a fantasy companion for herself, leading to confusion for the social workers trying to help her, because they do not know what is fact and what is fiction.
Then Eloise develops a troubling obsession with another teen. In a mistaken belief Torey Hayden can help reunite her with this girl, she agrees to work with Torey, who is challenged to meet Eloise’s complex behavioural needs.
In a forgotten corner of Wales, a young girl languishes in a home for troubled children. Abandoned by her parents, Jessie, aged nine, is at risk of becoming just another lost soul in the foster system. Precocious and bold and convinced she is possessed by the Devil, Jessie is utterly unprepared for the arrival of Torey Hayden. Armed with patience and compassion, Hayden begins working with Jessie, and then Jessie makes a stunning accusation against one of Hayden’s colleagues. Hayden’s work doubles. Now she must not only help Jessie with her troubles but also find out if what the girl alleges is true.
The school year that followed would prove to be one of the most trying, perplexing, and ultimately rewarding of her career, as Torey struggled to reach a silent child in obvious pain and need and, at the same time, create an atmosphere of learning and cooperation in a class bent on chaos.
It would be a strenuous journey beset by seemingly insurmountable obstacles and darkened by truly terrible revelations-yet encouraged by sometimes small, sometimes dazzling breakthroughs-as an intrepid teacher remained committed to help a “hopeless” girl, and patiently and lovingly lead her toward the light of a new day.
In this remarkably moving account, Torey Hayden once again displays the insight, intelligence, humor and, most importantly, the indomitable heart that have made her previous books not only phenomenal bestsellers worldwide but required reading for anyone personally touched by or interested in the treatment of emotionally disturbed children.
Torey didn’t want to write a sequel to ONE CHILD initially.
When ONE CHILD was published, her editor thought Sheila’s life after leaving Torey’s classroom was so grim that it would be better not to say anything about it.
Torey also felt it would be hard to follow up ONE CHILD because ONE CHILD had been “something of a fairy tale” and had left the reader with the impression of “happily ever after”. A sequel would make “real life all too apparent”.
In the end she wrote THE TIGER’S CHILD on a dare from Sheila, who had teasingly said she never would.
In writing GHOST GIRL the issue Torey wanted to address specifically was the difficulty professionals have in interpreting maladjusted behavior. At the time of writing GHOST GIRL, she was concerned at the number of people jumping on the various “bandwagons”, such as satanic and ritual abuse, multiple personality disorder, and such and wanted to show just how hard it can be from the professional’s standpoint to determine what exactly is happening – and how easy it is to allow personal bias to affect diagnoses.
GHOST GIRL was Torey’s first book to upset publishers and to be returned for re-writing. They disliked the unclear ending. As it is a true story and not fiction, Torey found it difficult to come up with a more suitable ending. The issue was resolved by including a lengthy epilogue which had to be rewritten fifteen times before it was accepted.
GHOST GIRL went on to become Torey’s second most popular book after ONE CHILD. It reached the best seller list in five countries.
Torey still is not certain what really happened to Jadie.
Torey didn’t set out to write about Ladbrooke in JUST ANOTHER KID. She only intended to write about the children and include Ladbrooke only in her capacity as aide in the classroom. But as the book progressed, Torey was surprised to find it had become Ladbrooke’s story.
Alarmed that her publishers might not like this deviation from the synopsis they’d purchased, she mailed the 250-page uncompleted manuscript in a panic to her editor over Christmas that year to find out if she should proceed. Fortunately, everyone liked the “story that wrote itself”.
This is the one book Torey finds impossible to go back and read. It was written very quickly, about 20 pages a day, and being very busy with a real-life class at the time, Torey did not take much time to go back over it. She says she now can’t read it because “the writing’s really rather bad” and ruins the story for her.
Torey confesses another reason for not being able to go back and read it is that SOMEBODY ELSE’S KIDS “is a bit of a revenge book”, expressing her frustrations with the teacher portrayed as Edna in the book and with the mainstreaming law.
“It probably would have been a better book if I had been just a little less angry when I wrote it,” she says.
ONE CHILD did not start out as a book. Torey wrote it as a personal story to record for herself her extraordinary time with Sheila. It was only after the story was completed that she considered publishing it.
ONE CHILD is Torey’s first book and it was the first thing she ever submitted for publication. The story itself was written very quickly – only eight days from start to finish.
It took only 42 days from the time she started writing ONE CHILD until she signed a contract with G.P. Putnam’s Sons to publish it.
ONE CHILD is currently in 28 languages and has been adapted in several diverse forms, including a one-act opera, a Japanese puppet play and a TV movie.