The Fifth Child (Vintage International)

by Doris Lessing | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0679721827 Global Overview for this book
Registered by jennannej of Coronado, California USA on 12/2/2005
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7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by jennannej from Coronado, California USA on Friday, December 02, 2005
Picked up at library book sale in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Journal Entry 2 by jennannej from Coronado, California USA on Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Off tomorrow to Trekwoman!

Journal Entry 3 by trekwoman from -- Somewhere in the state --, California USA on Monday, February 27, 2006
Arrived in today's post, thank you!

Journal Entry 4 by trekwoman from -- Somewhere in the state --, California USA on Monday, February 27, 2006
As it is a shorter book (133 pages), I sat down this afternoon and devoured it.

I was not shocked nor surprised by the behavior exhibited by Ben, the fifth child, nor by his mother Harriet. I am in a relationship now with a man who acted (and still acts) in much the same way as Ben. However, the man I know was treated in a manner completely opposite than Ben, which is to say he was coddled to the point of near smothering by his mother.

The vacant stares, the unemotional responses, the troubles in school with classwork and socialization.. we now recognize these patterns in children and can try to mend and mold them, but before the 1990's (this book was written in 1988), doctors weren't sure just what was happening. Children often were heavily medicated, neglected or farmed off. Terrible, terrible.

So, as I read, I was a bit saddened to find myself unshocked by Ben's story. I found myself nodding in recognition, saddened by the daily way of life in the household and the repercussions that took place among the family members.

I did find out that Ben's story continues in another book, and I look with interest to reading that as well.

Journal Entry 5 by BMVCOE from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Monday, June 12, 2006
Thanks Trekwoman!

Journal Entry 6 by BMVCOE from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Monday, June 26, 2006
It was really hard to articulate my response to this book, and I wanted to read it again before making a journal entry; however, it doesn't look like I'll have time, despite the shortness of the book, so here's my thoughts.

Having worked in special education, this book pushed a lot of my buttons. Even with the knowledge that there are some pretty horrible institutions out there, the description of the one they had Ben in really disturbed me. Yes, it's hard to connect with a disabled person who doesn't acknowledge you, yes, it's hard to love someone whose physical appearance gives you an apprehensive jolt, but they are people, too. They don't deserve to be forgotten about. I think that's what disturbed me most about this book, the ready acceptance of the idea that Ben is not human, that he is some genetic abnormality, some goblin. And I'm pretty sure Lessing was making a point with this...I just haven't been able to follow it through. I'd like to read the literature on this, if there is any, and if I ever get the time.

Despite the fact that I was disturbed, this is a very powerful book, and quite worth reading. I'm intrigued by what I've read about Lessing and her ability to write in various genres, so I think I'll be looking for more books by her in the future.

Journal Entry 7 by BMVCOE from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Saturday, August 26, 2006
On its way to RockDg9, stuck in as a surprise with her Back to School RABCK cd!

RockDg9, you don't have to read it if it's not something that appeals to you, it was just the only book I had that would fit in the envelope. :)

Journal Entry 8 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Arrived here safe and sound. It does look interesting. And thanks for the fantastic CD!

Journal Entry 9 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Friday, March 30, 2007
Wow. What an amazing story - it was shocking and terrible, and yet I think they all made it out of that situation ok. Especially Ben, who I was very sympathetic with.

Thanks BMVCOE for sending this book, which I'd never have picked up on my own.

Journal Entry 10 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Monday, May 28, 2007
Releasing this into the Small Books bookbag.

Journal Entry 11 by angelbird72 from Newcastle, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, May 31, 2007
From the Small Books book bag. This book truely looks very interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

I'm a little apprehensive because it seems from some of the comments below to have been a very full on book, but it also sounds worthwhile, and I've decided to give it a go.

Journal Entry 12 by angelbird72 from Newcastle, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, June 28, 2007
I just finished this book the other day. I found it faintly disturbing actually, sort of uncomfortable to read.

Reading it I got a bit sucked into the emotions, and I could feel thr frustration as I was reading it.

The book was well written, and I could see it, but I didn't really like the story it was telling.

I hope the next person who reads this book enjoys it more than I have.

Journal Entry 13 by freelunch from Cairns, Queensland Australia on Sunday, July 15, 2007
taken from the Disposable Fiction bookbag, thanks angelbird72

Journal Entry 14 by freelunch at Cairns, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Finally got around to reading this because it is the perfect size to fill out a 500g Australia Post satchel. My youngest is amused that I'm selecting reading material now by weight.

This was a grim, but compelling. It has a sequel which I'm not sure I'm going to bother tracking down as some stories are best left finished.

Journal Entry 15 by wingcatsalivewing at Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Monday, July 17, 2017
Thanks, freelunch. Sounds like a cheerful read.

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