The Whipping Club
Mar 1, 2012
The Whipping Club
Publisher: T.S. Poetry Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
A tear jerker of a book. The story revolves around a couple who gave up a baby into the Irish Foster System before they were married. Through pressure from church and elders - Marian, who is Catholic and Ben, who is Jewish - have incredible pressure placed on them to not marry. While this pressure is occurring, Marian learns she's pregnant and is talked into going away to have the baby without telling Ben and giving it a better home, without wrecking Ben's burgeoning career in journalism.
The twist is that once she returns to her home, they quickly marry and have a child anyway. Thereby, in my mind, negating the need for the hiding of a first child - they could have just married sooner and carried on as they already did.
It was assumed that the boy was sent to America to be adopted. The horror comes forth when it's discovered that not only was he not sent away, but he's been in the institutionalized orphanage system in Ireland all this time. This is not a system that believes the children are human beings needing love - instead they are treated as if they are nothing more than the stains of sins resulting from unmarried whores. The state may do what they will with them.
At this time in Ireland, the government had full rights to take your children away from you at any time. Regardless of circumstances, if they decided you were not keeping them under control, the interfered. We're not talking about if you were thought to be abusing them, the children were abused enough in the orphanages. They basically were putting children in prisons if they were acting........well, like rowdy children. Many of the boys and girls in the orphanages had parents who would come and visit them now and again.
When Marian discovers that Adrian, the boy she gave away, is actually still in an orphanage in Ireland and not living a wonderful life in America, she confesses what she's done to Ben and together they attempt to regain custody of Adrian and bring him home.
They receive rights for him to visit for the Summer, which is almost worse as he gets a taste of freedom, only to be returned to the orphanage and then worse, on to a boy's home for the 'unmanageable' after it's determined that he's not quite ready for society. Truly a hellhole of an institution is where he's sent.
The story becomes one of attempts at redemption on the part of Marian and Ben by saving the boy from this system. But they may not be able to.
I'll be honest, I did not care much for Ben and Marian. I found them selfish of their own wants and needs and cold creatures in general with small flashes of humanity. While they do strive to rescue Adrian once they discover his circumstances, I never found them to be truly likable people.
Adrian, and Joanna (their daughter) are tiny little pawns in the system that can do no more than attempt to survive and grasp what little affection comes their way until they can break free from the childhood constraints. Of course, Adrian may not last that long.
A good story, heartbreaking in it's descriptions of orphanage life. The stories of these 'good religious people' and their actions towards innocent children who have no control of how they ended up there make you want to find a very large stick and head in their direction.
Reviewed by Idgie. If you would like to have the Dew review a book, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org