Review Of The Night Train

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This is a gripping, gritty account of truth as fiction. It disproves the theory that truth is stranger than fiction and teaches a new lesson. Fiction tells the truth more truthfully than the truth.

I wrote my own book detailing my abusive childhood as narrative nonfiction and have developed a reputation of being an expert on abuse. I was leery when someone suggested this book, doubting the value a fiction book would bring to this subject. The person who suggested it was right, and I was totally wrong.

The basic premise of The Night Train is abuse, and it most certainly will hurt your heart as you read it, but the child abuse part of the book is remarkably subtle. Understated might be a better word, but with that understatement Carl reveals his genius.

The book covers all the emotions I endured as a severely abused child with absolute clarity. Emotions like the despair of being abused by one parent, who seems to revel in your misery, as the other parent who sees the beatings blames you for the injuries that will not allow you to get up from the floor. Do not forget the deep shame and soul smothering abuse perpetrated by bullies. As you struggle to survive each day those around you recognize the fact that you are defeated, and like other animals they attack relentlessly as if trying to eradicate the weak and wounded. Also, the teachers and other people in positions of authority are equally cruel as they struggle to ignore something they see, but which is a thing they have no control over. For a lack of any other solution the abused shoulders the shame and blame, turning school, church  and other venues that are traditionally considered safe havens for children into unimaginable hells that are extensions of the hell waiting at home.

Carl carefully paints all this pain into this extraordinary work of fiction with seamless effort. Suggesting that he too has a deep personal relationship with abuse, I expect he is a fellow survivor and commend him for lending his heart to such a cause.

The book, while threaded with the important facets of child abuse is not actually centered or more aptly a slave to that subject. It is the story of Jayrod Nash, a young boy who although being abused still has the dreams that all children have. The book might be more accurately portrayed as a great train adventure. Once again Carl proves his worth as a writer and covers the hopes, dreams and aspirations of Jayrod as he embarks on a journey meant to not only save himself, but a journey that will allow him to survive his childhood while developing skills that will allow him to survive his manhood.

Every young boy dreams of a life on the rails of America, you will most certainly enjoy reading about Jayrod’s American odyssey. I too decided to take to the rails at the age of ten, but chickened out. I lived that fantasy vicariously through Jayrod and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. This is what writing is about, thank you for allowing me to take such a wonderful journey.

My own abuse ended with the death of my abuser, Jayrod escapes in a much different way. The book does have a happy ending, one that will allow Carl to write a sequel about Jayrod’s struggle as he grows. It will be a story of spending dozens of years or an entire lifetime to overcome what it took less than a decade to create.

I have no idea if Carl plans such a book or is aware of its potential, but I’m here to whisper it into his ear. “Hey Carl you could write a kick butt sequel to this.”

Would I read this book again? In a heartbeat, if not for an unusually busy week I would have read it in one setting. I read three books a week while commuting on trains. I think that qualifies me to give a pretty fair account of books with the exception of my own. After struggling through half of Moby Dick, I removed my book marker to keep it from killing itself, closed the book and immediately turned and gave it to someone on the train, I didn’t dare give it someone I knew. Ten pages into a William Faulkner book, I took it back to the library to keep myself from killing myself. I devoured The Night Train. I can’t wait to read further works by Carl, one of the newest budding Mississippi writers.

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Review Of They Cage The Animals At Night

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About Jennings Michael Burch

 

By Sandra D. Peters “Seagull Books” (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

This is the story of Jennings Michael Burch and it is not an easy book to read. It tells of a young boy’s determination to survive despite abandonment, physical abuse and humiliation after being left by his ailing mother at an orphanage. He then experiences a variety of foster homes and some of these accounts will bring more than a single tear to your eye.

During his stay at an orphanage, the Sisters would allow the children to choose a stuffed animal to take to bed with them at night as a source of comfort. Goodness only knows, it was their only small comfort – every other aspect was a child’s worst nightmare! However, in the wee hours of the morning before the children awoke, the animals would quickly be gathered up and locked away (caged) and this is the source of the book’s title. David’s only source of acceptance, love and understanding comes from “Doggie”, a tattered stuffed dog. Your heart will cry for this little boy whose only desire is to please, be loved and be wanted. The story does have a happy ending, if such stories ever really do. Despite all odds, Michael does survive, along with “Doggie”. The hurt, rejection and loneliness felt as an abused child never disappear. The wounds heal, the heart forgives, but the mind never forgets. Anyone who has experienced abuse as a child, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional or verbal, will be able to relate only too well to the story of little Jennings Michael Burch. Often, reading the stories of other victims of abuse, help the adult survivor to realize they are not alone. If you have never experienced abuse, you will count your blessings that you have never had to live each and every day in a world of constant fear and rejection. …

I Died On Christmas Day

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informally

 

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This story was inspired by an opinion piece about Jorelys Rivera, a seven-year-old girl who will not open gifts this Christmas. If you cannot stomach graphic truth, do not read it, you have been warned.

It was December 25, 1968. A god lived in our old house, a god who didn’t allow his subjects to come from their rooms until he emerged from his. Christmas Day was no exception. He didn’t emerge until after lunch. Four innocent souls stood in doorways trying to get a peek at the tree or the little bundles of heaven wrapped in colored paper and bows.

The day moved on, the egg shells placed carefully to catch unsuspecting little feet were scattered with loving care. Their crunching sounds were barely audible, but screamed in our universe. Step on a crack, break your mothers back, step on a shell go directly to $%^&.

A mistake was made, by whom, unimportant. The face of our god flushed red, gone was the Christmas god. The remnant of presents were scattered throughout the room, the remnants of breakfast was still on the table, the remnants of a fire smoldering in its place and the remnants of sanity swirled, rose and vanished into the air.

It happened quickly, it always did. I turned to see the fist of our god, it had risen and was destined to fall. The first punch took my breath even as I tried to avoid it, a sin in itself. The second busted my lip, the taste of blood its little gift. I knew the taste of blood well. The third to the stomach bent me forward allowing the tooth, already roaming around loose in my mouth to be projected onto the floor at my feet. I concentrated on that unruly tooth as a series of punches came too quick to comprehend and seemingly from all directions at once. The tooth held some importance I could not discern.

My mind raced and screamed into the universe, why, what did I do?

My next gift a broken rib and the sound of my nose exploding. My heart and lungs fought for every moment, but my legs gave up early and I spread across the floor like snow melting in a cozy room. I grasped at consciousness, it being all I had.

Now the time of our god’s foot had arrived: it kicked, something broke, it kicked, something tore, it kicked and reality shattered then scattered across the floor before my eyes. I could feel death breathing on me as my hair was grasped firmly. My heart pounded in my head or maybe it was my head being pounded on the brick hearth in front of the fireplace.

Sickeningly, my mind counted the times it rose and fell on the bricks, one, two, ten and twelve, it counted down the seconds of my life. I saw the fire with such clarity, a message from the real God I couldn’t comprehend, perhaps? Somewhere in it all this, the words, I’ll you kill you little son of a so and so, the last words I’d ever hear, wormed their way in. The fear, the pain and the sick, slimy, sticky, warm taste of blood were the memories that came with them. In the end death has a warm, welcoming embrace.

I awakened to find I was mistaken. What do you do the day after you die? What do you do the rest of your life? No police were called, no hospital was visited and no one explained how a dead child is supposed to act. Some things must be figured out by an eight-year-old, by himself. It only took a couple week of being buried in my room, out of sight of the world, for me to walk this earth again.

Sometimes I am told before, during and after I speak, to GET OVER IT. I have.

I speak because dead children cannot. I speak for children like Jorelys who die at the hands of a monster in a nightmare reality. I speak for the five children in America, each day, average age three, who are cowering in corners as someone they know love and trust beats them into the silence of death.

I speak because I died several times and God allowed me to come back. He DEMANDS  I speak. I speak for the five children who will die each of the twelve days of Christmas.

We will always know who Jorelys was, but everyday five who live will slip into their own Silent Night and no one will know their names.

Kennesaw Taylor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE1ttQJq80o

ATHENS PATCH I DIED ON CHRISTMAS DAY

I Died On Christmas Day

Audio cover Informally

Buy The Audio Book

informally

Buy The Book

 

This story was inspired by an opinion piece about Jorelys Rivera, a seven-year-old girl who will not open gifts this Christmas. If you cannot stomach graphic truth, do not read it, you have been warned.

It was December 25, 1968. A god lived in our old house, a god who didn’t allow his subjects to come from their rooms until he emerged from his. Christmas Day was no exception. He didn’t emerge until after lunch. Four innocent souls stood in doorways trying to get a peek at the tree or the little bundles of heaven wrapped in colored paper and bows.

The day moved on, the egg shells placed carefully to catch unsuspecting little feet were scattered with loving care. Their crunching sounds were barely audible, but screamed in our universe. Step on a crack, break your mothers back, step on a shell go directly to $%^&.

A mistake was made, by whom, unimportant. The face of our god flushed red, gone was the Christmas god. The remnant of presents were scattered throughout the room, the remnants of breakfast was still on the table, the remnants of a fire smoldering in its place and the remnants of sanity swirled, rose and vanished into the air.

It happened quickly, it always did. I turned to see the fist of our god, it had risen and was destined to fall. The first punch took my breath even as I tried to avoid it, a sin in itself. The second busted my lip, the taste of blood its little gift. I knew the taste of blood well. The third to the stomach bent me forward allowing the tooth, already roaming around loose in my mouth to be projected onto the floor at my feet. I concentrated on that unruly tooth as a series of punches came too quick to comprehend and seemingly from all directions at once. The tooth held some importance I could not discern.

My mind raced and screamed into the universe, why, what did I do?

My next gift a broken rib and the sound of my nose exploding. My heart and lungs fought for every moment, but my legs gave up early and I spread across the floor like snow melting in a cozy room. I grasped at consciousness, it being all I had.

Now the time of our god’s foot had arrived: it kicked, something broke, it kicked, something tore, it kicked and reality shattered then scattered across the floor before my eyes. I could feel death breathing on me as my hair was grasped firmly. My heart pounded in my head or maybe it was my head being pounded on the brick hearth in front of the fireplace.

Sickeningly, my mind counted the times it rose and fell on the bricks, one, two, ten and twelve, it counted down the seconds of my life. I saw the fire with such clarity, a message from the real God I couldn’t comprehend, perhaps? Somewhere in it all this, the words, I’ll you kill you little son of a so and so, the last words I’d ever hear, wormed their way in. The fear, the pain and the sick, slimy, sticky, warm taste of blood were the memories that came with them. In the end death has a warm, welcoming embrace.

I awakened to find I was mistaken. What do you do the day after you die? What do you do the rest of your life? No police were called, no hospital was visited and no one explained how a dead child is supposed to act. Some things must be figured out by an eight-year-old, by himself. It only took a couple week of being buried in my room, out of sight of the world, for me to walk this earth again.

Sometimes I am told before, during and after I speak, to GET OVER IT. I have.

I speak because dead children cannot. I speak for children like Jorelys who die at the hands of a monster in a nightmare reality. I speak for the five children in America, each day, average age three, who are cowering in corners as someone they know love and trust beats them into the silence of death.

I speak because I died several times and God allowed me to come back. He DEMANDS  I speak. I speak for the five children who will die each of the twelve days of Christmas.

We will always know who Jorelys was, but everyday five who live will slip into their own Silent Night and no one will know their names.

Kennesaw Taylor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE1ttQJq80o

ATHENS PATCH I DIED ON CHRISTMAS DAY

 

Abington woman sentenced in child abuse case

An Abington woman, accused with her ex-boyfriend in connection with the abuse and neglect suffered by an infant boy in their care, is behind bars for her “atrocious” conduct.
Colleen Melissa Miller, 32, of the 1000 block of Tyson Avenue, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 11 ½ to 23 months in the county jail after she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person in connection with her contact with the 7-month-old child.
“Essentially, she is admitting that she left this child alone with a man that she knew to be very violent and dangerous … which exposed that child to the risk of serious bodily injury, and that child was seriously injured while in that man’s care,” said Assistant District Attorney Samantha Cauffman, who argued for significant jail time against Miller.
Judge Thomas C. Branca also ordered Miller to complete three years’ probation after she’s paroled from jail and to undergo intensive drug, alcohol and mental health treatment as conditions of the sentence. The judge said Miller is eligible for the jail’s work release program but is prohibited from having any contact with the child.With the charges, authorities alleged Miller left the child, for whom she was caring, alone with her former boyfriend, John Matthew O’Neill, even though she had a protection order against O’Neill, and then didn’t seek immediate medical care for the child when she returned home from a night of drinking and discovered the child suffered serious injuries to his anus, allegedly at the hands of O’Neill.

“What this woman did, by leaving this child to the whims of a very dangerous man, is atrocious, and she needed to pay for her actions, which were much more than just a series of bad decisions,” said Cauffman, who previously argued Miller “violated the most sacred duty” a person can have, which is to keep a child safe.

Defense lawyer Mark A. Hinrichs argued for leniency, in the form of probation, for Miller.

O’Neill, 33, of the 1400 block of Arnold Avenue, Abington, is still awaiting trial on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault of a child, indecent assault of a child, reckless endangerment, child endangerment and simple and aggravated assault in connection with his alleged contact with the 7-month-old infant.

Cauffman said the child is “on the road to recovery” from his injuries.

O’Neill, who remains in the county jail, allegedly gave conflicting statements to detectives about the cause of the child’s anal injuries, including claiming a pet cat caused the injuries or that the child fell against a bathtub fixture during bathing, according to the arrest affidavit.“O’Neill admits being the sole caretaker of [the child] prior to and during the time where [the child] received his injuries,” Abington Detective Michael Begley alleged in the criminal complaint.

The investigation determined Miller, at about 10 p.m. Aug. 12, 2011, allowed O’Neill, her ex-boyfriend, to come to her home, even though she had a valid protection from abuse order that prohibited O’Neill from being at her residence, and asked him to stay with a child that was in her care while she went out with her new boyfriend, court papers indicate.

Miller allegedly returned home at 3 a.m. Aug. 13. After a brief discussion during which O’Neill allegedly stated the child was “fine,” Miller asked O’Neill to leave the residence. As O’Neill left he allegedly stated to Miller, “There’s blood in the trash can, it’s from me,” according to the arrest affidavit.

When Miller checked on the child she noticed blood on the bedding.

“She also found blood throughout other areas of the house. Miller found blood splatter, bloody diapers, towels, sheets and baby wipes,” Begley alleged, adding Miller noticed something unusual about the child’s anal area while removing the child’s diaper.

At about 4:40 a.m. Miller allegedly sent a text message to a relative stating, “You need to come, what I have to show you is not good,” according to the arrest affidavit. However, even after Miller couldn’t reach her relative, Miller did not call for medical assistance for the child, authorities alleged.

Miller’s relative, retrieving the message about six hours later, rushed to her home at 10:45 a.m. and found the child “unresponsive but breathing,” and noticed the child’s anal injuries and bruising to both sides of his head at his temples and under his jaw, according to the criminal complaint. Miller’s relative rushed the child to Abington Memorial Hospital.
The child underwent emergency surgery for what doctors described as “horrific injuries to the anus area,” which were life-threatening, according to court documents.

When authorities took O’Neill into custody, they discovered what appeared to be a blood “splatter mark” on the top of his right shoe, according to the arrest affidavit.
Due to the child’s critical condition, the little boy was transported to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where doctors diagnosed the injuries to the child’s anus as “violent trauma,” including perforation of the intestines, according to the criminal complaint.

The child underwent emergency surgery for what doctors described as “horrific injuries to the anus area,” which were life-threatening, according to court documents.

When authorities took O’Neill into custody, they discovered what appeared to be a blood “splatter mark” on the top of his right shoe, according to the arrest affidavit.

CREDITS By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@journalregister.com

http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2012/11/07/glenside_news_globe_times_chronicle/news/doc5093dda236e37018843180.txt?viewmode=fullstory