Those Children Are Ours // Book Review

Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.
True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.

If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.

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My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book. I wanted to read it because it was so different. You rarely get a Mum going to court for access to their children, it’s more likely for the Dad to go. 
This book brings out so many emotions. Sadness because Jennie hasn’t seen her children in 12 years. I couldn’t imagine spending more than a day without my babies! Anger, because she walked out on her babies. Part of me didn’t want her to get access. She walked out, she abandoned them, how dare she think it’s ok to come back 12 years later. Empathy, because of her mental health problems. I really suffer from mental health, especially anxiety.  Happiness, when she starts to rebuild the relationship with her children. Despite 12 years absence, deep down, I believe all children should see both their parents. 
The book took a dramatic turn near the end, a turn I definitely didn’t see coming. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s fantastic. 
When I first started the book, I instantly knew I wasn’t going to be able to put it down. I read it all in one go, not being able to stop, wanting to find out what happened next.  

About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.
He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael’s journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

Find the author on the following sites…

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  1. - October 30, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    Thank you o much for reviewing Those Children Are Ours! I'm happy that you enjoyed it.
    David Burnett

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