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The Kindness of Strangers

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  10,919 Ratings  ·  1,411 Reviews
The Kindness of Strangers
Paperback, 393 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 31st 2006)
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Dec 20, 2012 Deanna rated it it was amazing
I read this book about 8 years ago and it's one of those books that has stayed with me ever since. It will probably always be one of my favorite books. Even though it is also one of the most difficult books I have ever read. It's the book that comes to mind whenever someone asks for a recommendation. I had originally meant to write a review but somehow it slipped my mind.

The novel was on my mind again as I just recently recommended it to someone.

This book introduced me to author Katrina Kittle
Jun 20, 2007 Jaime rated it it was amazing
You know you're reading a great book when you start thinking about its characters and their story in your free time. This book completely consumed my thoughts. Although the subject matter may turn some readers off--the story deals with incest and child pornography--the author handles it with an immense amount of compassion and poise. I felt so attached to the characters in this novel, and Kittle (a middle school English teacher!) didn't hold back; there were constant shocks and twists in the plo ...more
Feb 03, 2017 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5 stars! Wow - this was an intense, highly-emotional and uncomfortable book. I don't think it's possible for me to give this book the review it deserves. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it up. Kudos to the author, Katrina Kittle, for writing an extremely powerful book about such a devastating and disturbing topic - child sexual abuse. Pedophiles are expert manipulators who thrive on finding vulnerable children and they often lead completely "normal" lives. What an eye-opener! ...more
Nov 02, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: my Dad
I'm still feeling conflicted over this book--it was a really hard subject matter (pedophiles, child sex abuse) and was full of terrible language in large quantities, but it was such an interesting look at a struggling family who worked through some really tough challenges and was even able to embrace another child to help him work through his trials. I loved the way the author captured the emotions of the characters--the story was told through three rotating points of view--and I was so intrigue ...more
Feb 13, 2008 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Although the back of the book attempts to summarize without hinting at content, my friend Cecily actually recommended this to me specifically because it was about childhood sexual abuse. If that is something you prefer not to spend free time thinking about, then don't read this. After working at a sexual assault crisis hotline for 3+ years, however, I'm sort of inclined to think that because silence surrounding child victims is almost as significant a form of oppression as the abuse itself, that ...more
Sep 25, 2007 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS by Katrina Kittle / William Morrow Press / 390pps / $24.95

When an elementary boy tries to kill himself, people look for reasons. What they usually find is horrendous.
Jordan is the quiet, skinny, pale boy who is best friends with the youngest of Sarah's two sons. Sarah is recently widowed and runs a catering business out of her home. She has catered "parties" for Jordan's parents on numerous occasions. She is close friends with Jordan's mother. When police investigat
May 29, 2009 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It is without a doubt one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read, but also the most heartwarming, in an alternating pattern that varies throughout the book. Dealing with the aftermath of horrible child abuse in a way that is honest and real, there is no sugarcoating of facts to be found here. Obviously, things aren't blatantly described, but the author has no problem discussing the issue. But, at the same time, this is not a story about child abuse, but rath ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Aug 27, 2009 Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it it was amazing
A must read if you can deal with the subject matter . An emotive,compelling tale of the horrors of abuse and how it affects not only the child but also the people it touches.
Despite the grim situation, it is incredibly well written with compassion yet without couching the horror in coy terms. It is honest which is sometimes difficult to read, it can make your heart hurt. This issue is so often exploited for shock value or tabloid fodder. There is no sensationalism in this story - but raw truth.
Feb 04, 2010 Kimberley rated it really liked it
I honestly don't know how to rate this book because I loved it so much yet disturbed all at the same time. I found myself not being able to put the book down but probably because I wanted to know what was going to happen to each of them. Of course it broke my heart as we know this really does exist every day. I think it was a GREAT approach for the author to show- yes, good things can come out of horrible situations.

I guess we need more Nate's in the world to convince us we have enough to give,
Eva Leger
Jul 26, 2008 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Eva by: book club
Shelves: b-fiction
This is an amazing book! I was totally enthralled the entire time. The characters- every single one- are so drawn out that you actually feel part of the story- that you know them. She deals with a very tough subject- child sexual abuse- but she touches every situation with great care. The way she has Danny, Nate, their mother, and Jordan going you'd swear she actually wrote down every little nuance from her own childhood and teenage years- she just does everything so well- totally believeable! I ...more
Oct 10, 2007 Recynd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ambivalent, fiction
Not bad, not bad...but not good, either. One does have to admire the author's guts in tackling such a touchy subject: incest/child pornography. Avoiding graphic details and gratuitous description, the author still manages to tell her story without it feeling like a cop-out. Unfortunately, "not being a cop-out" does not equal "a great read".

The best way I can describe the writing is "immature": Kittle has a ways to go before she's ripe. The characters are cookie-cutter and predictable, the dialog
Feb 27, 2016 Annie rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Despite the excellent reviews, I was hesitant to read about the sexual abuse of a child. I have to say, though, that the author handled this so well that it was hard for me to put this one down. It really dealt with the aftermath of the abuse and the emotions it elicits from not only the victim of the abuse, but of those in the community, especially the close friends of the child and his abusers. I highly recommend this one.
Feb 09, 2016 Antonio rated it it was amazing
Shelves: abuse, family-drama
When you hear about parental child abuse in the newspaper or on the tv it's normally about the court proceedings or the accused and very rarely any information about what happens to the abused child.
This heartbreaking novel takes us on the same journey as the child who finds when his parents are arrested he cannot look after himself so is hospitalised and under the care of psychologists and social workers. He is alone,frightened and bleeding, All his friends and neighbors know what has happened
May 28, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
I read this book in two days. While I will not write any spoilers, I will say that I got very caught up in the story of a difficult situation that has a child enter foster care and the impact of the child and situation on the family dynamic of the foster family. Katrina Kittle creates wonderful, fleshed out characters that could be your neighbors. Each chapter is told through the eyes of one of the main characters. This style works very here to progress the story and to explore the emotions, tho ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, thought-provoking -- just all-around great. The author tackles a horrifying subject without making the reader feel prurient or voyeuristic, which I think is a major accomplishment.
Sheryl Sorrentino
Jun 07, 2013 Sheryl Sorrentino rated it really liked it
This is a tough book to review. As purely a novel, I would give it 3.5 stars. The writing is fairly simple; moments of raw emotion few, but powerful. The Laden family, Jordan, and the various professionals are all likeable enough as characters, and I think the author did a decent job illuminating a really difficult subject within the context of a family saga. I found Jordan’s mom, Courtney Kendrick, to be a bit strained as a psychological profile of a child molester, but then, I am no expert. Jo ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Claudia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Claudia by: Lauren
You know that feeling, when something really sad happens, when you can't seem to take a full breath, and your chest hurts? All through this book I fought to breathe. Poor Jordan HAS to rely on the kindness of strangers, because both parents are monsters. Sarah and her boys, Nate and Danny, are dealing with the death of their husband and father, supported by the neighbors, Courtney and Mark. But the neighbors' secrets blow the town, and Sarah's family sky high. Sexual depravity and molestation, w ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Katt rated it really liked it
This book was really difficult for me to read. Being abused as a child and dealing with the questions of "why didn't you tell" have been subjects that I have had to deal with my whole life. I am still and will always be dealing. The love for a parent and the protection of "family" are the strongest bonds a child can have as well as the most desired bonds a person can long for.
I don't know if any of Katrina Kittle's story is true or if it is derived from a true story but it takes some serious cou
Jul 22, 2010 Jane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents and teachers
Recommended to Jane by: the goodreads site
I read this book because Katrina moderated a recent Goodreads author discussion. It was amazing. About a hard subject...and yet so thoughtfully presented through the eyes of four of the characters. I think if I had known that the subject was pedophila and child abuse, I might not have read it, but I'm so glad I did. I was pulled in from the first chapter, and couldn't stop reading. I had lots to do, and read it in three days...promising myself, "Just finish this job and you can read another chap ...more
May 11, 2011 Leila rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book, which I read for my Book Club about a year or so ago. The subject of the novel is the sexual abuse of a child--which, by the way, is not even hinted at on the book jacket (you only know that there is some vague "family problem"). The descriptions of this abuse were, I thought, overly detailed--almost lurid. I had the sense that the author wanted to write a story about a family with a real juicy skeleton in the closet, so she wracked her brain to find the most dis ...more
I did not like this book, not because of the subject matter but because of the way it was written. To me, the whole books did not seem to flow well and, again IMO, the author had bits and pieces that were not relevant to the characters or the story line.

Jan 13, 2017 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Had I known before hand the topic of this novel I would most definitely not have chosen to read it at the present time. That not being the case, once it became clear (quite early on I might add) that the book was about child sexual abuse, I seriously debated whether or not to continue reading. Stubborn mule that I am, I plodded on because, despite its disturbing contents, this book is engaging and well-written.
The Kindness of Strangers focuses on the horrifying abuse suffered by one tough little
Sep 25, 2013 Angie rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books from which you have to recover for a few days before moving on to another. Despite the horribly disturbing and distressing topic (sexual abuse of children, child pornography) this story was told so powerfully, so poignantly that I had a really hard time putting it down (and stayed up until 2:30 this morning to finish it *yawn*). Kittle managed to carefully tiptoe the line between describing just enough and describing too much. It was enough to make me squirm uncomfort ...more
Nov 11, 2011 Joan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2010 Tammy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lori, cathi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2012 Mindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished The Kindness of Strangers a few hours ago and I’m still reeling, still thinking about the characters and what happens to them next—two good signs that you’ve just read a very well done and powerful novel. The story takes place in Oakhaven, which must be a pseudonym for Oakwood, a small suburb just outside Dayton that I lived in 20-odd years ago, so this book was even more stirring for me. I could smell the unique aroma of the market Sarah frequents as I read, see the streets Jordan wa ...more
Mar 06, 2010 Stacy rated it it was amazing
Well, damn, she wasn't kidding.
I will start by saying that the dust jacket certainly does not lend to what the book will be about in full. I have been trying to formulate the words for this spot for a month. I actually read this book before The Bell Jar (#32).

Into your life you let Sarah Laden, recently widowed and raising two sons, on her own, while run her in-home catering business.
Into your life you let sons, Danny and Nate Laden. Danny, a quiet, reserved 5th grader who never [seems:] to d
Apr 15, 2008 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is told in the third-person, but the chapters rotate from the perspective of a widow of two (Sarah), her oldest high-school aged son (Nate), and the 11-year old son of a friend (Jordan). As Sarah struggles to keep her own two sons in order, a devastating secret is revealed about Jordan's family. While the "secret" is not discussed in the book-flap summary, it comes to light fairly quickly - so I don't feel like I'm spoiling anything by saying that the horrible truth is that Jordan has b ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Sheryl rated it it was amazing
Have you ever been so emotionally attached to a book? Or to a family that the story revolves around? That's me with The Kindness of Strangers. I find myself reading this book as though it effects me in some way. As if it is happening to someone close to me or someone I know. I can't help but to get choked up and tear up just about every other page. I had no idea what I got myself into with this one, however I am not disappointed at all. The synopsis on the back cover did not prepare me for what ...more
Kate The Great
Apr 28, 2009 Kate The Great rated it liked it
I really want to say that I loved this book; I honestly want to have loved it, but I don't think either of those things would be true. I want so badly to have said a much because I respect the author for taking on such a daunting and horrid topic like inscest and child pornography. It was a good solid story, and I enjoyed reading it, but at the end I found myself thinking... oh, okay, it's over.

Perhaps it is because the book I'd finished before this one (or rather when I put this one down and p
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Hello! Welcome to my GoodReads profile, fellow book lover. People have teased me that my reviews are all so high that I don't seem very critical (like a teacher who gives out all A's). Let me explain: First of all, life is too short to finish a book I don't love, and I'd never, ever review a book I hadn't finished. Secondly, I feel much more comfortable recommending works I admire than I do critic ...more
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