After the Fire by Will Hill: A review by Warren Bull
This is an award-winning book with great reviews that I believe you should not read, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Although I try to limit my reviews to books I can recommend, this is an exception. In part, this is well written, even compelling. Moonbeam is an adolescent who lived in a compound like the Davidian sect had outside Waco, Texas. Hill described of her life in the compound and the psychological trauma that resulted very well.
What completely ruins the book for me is the description of what happened to her when in the care of social services and his of description the “therapy” she received. I am willing to suspend disbelief, especially when the main character is interesting. What I cannot believe is that children in the care of the state are deprived of all civil rights, never given basic information, and have absolutely no access to legal resources. Perhaps, being British, the author did not know that children taken into custody are immediately assigned an attorney whose purpose is to look out for their best interests and who visit the children frequently. If he did not, he certainly either failed to investigate or he decided to depict a system George Orwell would instantly recognize.
As a clinical psychologist for thirty years, the failure of minimal ethical behavior, the many laws broken in the area of mental health and the incredible repeated level of malpractice shown throughout this work are mindboggling. I. For years, I worked with some excellent treatment facilities in Texas, where this book is set. The behavior of the “treatment staff depicted would appall them. If you know someone who had the unfortunate experience of reading this book, please let them know that care by the state and minimally competent therapy are not even remotely as horrendous as this irresponsible writing makes them appear.