book review, child care, child protective services, communication, Ellen Moore, forgiveness, Heather Gudenkauf, homeless, Jennifer Briard, laws, Little Mercies, loneliness, Love, mercy, mistakes, mothers, motivations, parenting, redemption, social work, trust, women's fiction
Book Review: Little Mercies – by Heather Gudenkauf
Ellen Moore is an experienced social worker who is dedicated to helping abused and neglected children. She is a devoted mother and wife, and life is good. But one terrible summer day, because of a miscommunication, her baby is left in her fatally hot car. Ellen is arrested for child endangerment, and her child’s life hangs in the balance. Now Ellen experiences the legal system from the other side, and everyone seems to have turned against her.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Briard is a ten year old girl who wanders from place to place with her alcoholic father. When her father is beaten up and then arrested, Jennifer flees. She gets off a bus alone in a strange town, with no idea what she is going to do. She is taken in by a loving but lonely woman who turns out to be Ellen Moore’s mother. But Jennifer doesn’t know if she can trust the woman’s kindness, and the last thing she wants is to have a social worker putting her into a foster home. But as Jennifer’s and Ellen’s lives converge, they may be able to help each other in unexpected ways.
This book was very tense, emotional, and suspenseful for me. The author did an excellent job of exploring the terrible mistakes people make and the consequences to children. It is also about the healing power of love and the little mercies that can come just when we need them most.