The Unbreakable Child: A Memoir About Forgiving the Unforgivable
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The Unbreakable Child: A Memoir About Forgiving the Unforgivable

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The Unbreakable Child: a story about forgiving the unforgivable is a riveting journey inside the secretive underbelly of the St. Thomas / Saint Vincent Orphan Asylum in rural Kentucky. It is the first book in the United States to confront the institutionalized physical and emotional abuse suffered by countless orphans at the hands of Catholic clergy over these last decades...more
Paperback, 3rd, 218 pages
Published October 18th 2012 by Richardson (first published April 1st 2009)
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Susan Ideus
"How does one describe evil, and how does one explain the evils of those who wore the face of God, who cloaked evil with His Veil?"

Kim Richardson has written a stunning story of abuse, heinous crimes against helpless children, and amazing triumph over those circumstances. It is a story which both broke my heart and showed me hope and what it means to be resilient and of strong character.

Church should be a safe place and religious leaders should be models of caring and compassion. Schools and orp...more
Megan
"There were no hearts but the broken at Saint Thomas," says Kim Richardson in The Unbreakable Child. The victim of abuse at the hands of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth during her stay at St. Thomas St. Vincent Orphanage, Kim was involved in a lawsuit against the nuns at the same time that the abuses on children previously covered up by the Catholic church were making headlines. Kim and forty-four other orphans who lived at the orphanage were granted the very first monetary settlement ever pa...more
Alice
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
justablondemoment
As my major in college was social work, I have read a lot of these types of books and find the stories of courage to be of great value to all that read them. Having been raised in a warm loving family with all my needs met and very little wants denied, it is hard to read abuse victims' tales without shedding a tear or two. This book was not one of them.

It is not the story; it was the way it was written that just didn't move me the way these types of books should. They should leave you with a fe...more
Melissa Sloop
The life of a child....

The life of an innocent child destroyed by people who should be trustworthy as care takers. The abuse suffered by Kim and the other children make me ashamed to call myself Catholic. The Vatican knew about the abuse and covered it up. I say shame on you, leaders of the Holy Catholic Church. Before you can lead people you have be trustworthy and show that you will solve the problems you have in your own house before dictating to others what they may do in theirs.

This book de...more
Jean
A story about forgiving the unforgivable is a riveting journey inside the secretive underbelly of the St. Thomas/Saint Vincent Orphan Asylum in rural Kentucky. It is an unbelievable confrontation of the institutionalized physical and emotional abuse suffered by countless orphans at the hands of Catholic clergy over these last decades. It also documents the historic United States lawsuit and first-ever settlement paid by Roman Catholic nuns in the United States as recompense for decades of brutal...more
Patty Blaney
This was a somewhat hard book to read due to the nature of the topic. It was a bit disjointed, but I believe that is because of the topic. It is disturbing to think that this orphanage got away with severely abusing these children for years unchecked. At the same time, I think the social worker failed them just as much as the nuns and priests did. There is no way that the social worker didn't have an inkling as to what was going on. Why did the caretaker and his wife not report that the kids wer...more
Bonnie
My mom & her four little brothers and sisters spent some time in an orphanage. She once told me the story about how one day they were outside playing and she saw a bus coming up the street. She grabbed her siblings and told them to hold on to each other and her and don't let go - no matter what! They made a break for it and ran for the bus. When they climbed aboard the bus driver told her she needed to pay. She gave him the look (I know the look - I grew up with it.) He didn't ask again. Thi...more
Kathy
Courageous and sad.
Thomma
I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. This edition of The Unbreakable Child, published by Behler Publications, is new and expanded, and details Kim's horrific abuse as a child at the hands of the clergy who were supposed to be caring for her and nurturing her, and it also chronicles Kim's work, together with other former orphans, with William McMurray, a strong advocate for victims of clergy and institutional abuse. Kim and other former orphans were the first clergy abuse victims to...more
Esther
Reviewing this book is not easy because it does not really attempt to create a narrative.

It is a very guarded, though also very honest, collection of memories both from a horrific childhood and the later repercussions in adulthood.
The writer, who is also the main protagonists, gives us snapshots from the legal proceedings against the Catholic orphanage where she, her sisters and many other young children suffered abuse. She gives stark descriptions of the affects, both physical and mental, that...more
Shirley Dagle
Heartache and more......

How can this happen to such innocents. So many emotions fly through my brain. Heartache, rage, incomprehension. Kim Richardson's story is heart wrenching. Such courage to expose the atrocities committed against her and the others at the orphanage is very much appreciated. My kindest thoughts go out to all of them. A very sad story that had to be be told. Thank you again for your strength and courage Ms. Richardson.
Denise Baer
Kim Michele Richardson’s words and experience unveils a sinister act of betrayal. Through Kim’s journey into adulthood, you can feel the struggles she faced and demons she fought. The Unbreakable Child is Kim’s account of her experience living behind the walls of a Catholic Orphanage in Kentucky.

The only beauty in this memoir is the fact that she didn’t break—didn’t let her misfortunes carve out her future. But that’s the only beauty of the book. Learning about such deception through her eyes i...more
Sharon
Kim Richardson's memoir of her harrowing experiences in a Catholic orphanage, as well as her work on behalf of her fellow victims, is chronicled in this book.

Not always an easy read as Richardson recalls the physical and sexual abuse she endured at the hands of clergymen and nuns, this is nevertheless an important book. Since 1922, the Roman Catholic Church's policy has been to move those accused of child abuse and/or molestation to a different area (this is known as a pontifical secret, which m...more
Sherilee Phillips
I could not put it down.

I could not put it down.

This book grabbed me by the heart and would not let go. We've all heard about the failings of the Catholic priests but this book zeroes in on the abuse by the priests and the nuns. I hope the abuses lie heavy on the hearts of the abusers and that those who were abused find a modicum of peace.
Theresa Portman
Relative

Relative

I relate somewhat to this story, I was mentally abused by nuns for 6 years.. in a school I went to. Thank God, nothing like what went on in that place. Very good story...so sad that that kind of thing really went on behind closed doors.
Joy
Very sad that these Nuns and Clergymen tortured orphans like they did and wasn't held accountable for it until they met their makers. Some of these poor kids overcame the evil of the past but sadly some didn't drowning the memories with drugs alcohol an some with killing themselves ..
Kathleen
What sort of a settlement could possibly compensate for abuse at the hands of the nuns, a lost childhood? This book describes what Kim Richardson went through at St. Thomas Orphanage in Kentucky during the 1960's. The fact that Kim survives the horror stories that she tells is a miracle. Many in the same position were unable to lead a normal life after the years they spent so troubled, their self esteem smashed.
As I finished the book two things continue to puzzle me. 1) Though times were much d...more
G.J.
I'm a guy. I'm a lawyer. I have raised two sons but no daughters. So...this book is a bit out of my territory. As a lawyer familiar with these cases, the topic drew me to open it up. The writing made me keep reading. It's not slick. It jumps back and forth and sideways. The grammar is not always perfect. But all that fits. I could not imagine having gone through this and come out the other side and trying to talk or tell about it in some slick, smooth, easy-to-read or easy-to-listen-to way. The...more
Felicia
Very disturbing account of the author's 9 years at an orphanage filled with abuse. Left me numb and not really sure how to rate this! But Kim's ability to forgive and move on with her life is inspirational.
Jsimpson
What a sad story. It is hard to believe that so many monsters could be at the same place at the same time. In the end, Kim showed them by living a great life. She was one of the lucky ones.
Sara
A must read, not for enjoyment but for knowledge. The horrific abuse of of children at the St. Thomas/St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum in Anchorage, Kentucky by those official representatives of the Catholic Church is beyond imagination. This is the story of one unbroken child.
Sarah
I received this book in a Goodreads first reads giveaway. This book is an account of Kim Richardson's life in a Kentucky Catholic Orphanage during the 1960's and later in the book the lawsuit against the catholic church for abuses. It was difficult to read of the various abuses Kim suffered as a child and it must have taken alot of strength to write about it. Ultimately it's a story of forgiveness and faith. Definitely the kind of book that sticks with you afterwards.
Kathleen
Quick sad read. I felt Kim as a child. As a Catholic it saddens me that nuns who ran an orphanage were allowed to treat children this way. The nuns I know today would NEVER treat anyone as Kim was treated. Opening our eyes is a good thing. I am glad that the author is trying to forgive the unforgivable. We can all learn a lesson from letting go of past events/issues instead of clinging to the pain and letting it destroy our lives. God Bless.
Nancy
This author went through hell on Earth growing up in a Catholic orphanage. However I can't agree that she is an "unbreakable child". While she does show some strength in her adult life (she's gotten over a lot of the abuse quite well), what shines through to me is that she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and she definitely should get some therapy to deal with what has happened to her. Overall a very well-written book.
Stephanie Burke
A very quick read (just a day and a half for me). While it is an incredibly sad story, it is also hopeful. It tells one woman's story growing up in a Catholic orphanage and the abuses she and many other children experienced. It is a worthwhile read if only to learn more about the institutionalized secrecy and abuse that the Catholic church created, the ultimate "dysfunctional family".
Lisa
Dec 10, 2012 Lisa marked it as to-read
I won this on First Reads.

I take reading and reviewing books very seriously. Due to deaths and major family health issues, I have not been able to dedicate time or energy towards reading or reviewing. I do not want to do either half heartedly, so I will have to post this for now and will come back when things slow down. At that time I will update this with a proper review.
Sheri Wright
This is a powerful must-read to help bring about a better awareness of cruelty committed against children. What was once thought acceptable to be swept under the rug has been shouted out with a clear voice that would not be refused to be heard. Truly a human-issue story, this memoir stares straight into the faces of those who tried to hide behind an institutional mask.
Xbrittydx
Dec 16, 2012 Xbrittydx rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone 13+
I just received this book in the mail today and I am already over half way through. This book is incredible! It just blows your mind to think this type of thing is going on in todays orphanages. A very interesting read that at times makes you cringe but you never want to put it down. Ill probably stay up reading it tonight and thinking about it long into the next morning.
Katia
An alright book. Interesting topic (child abuse, specifically orphans, by the Catholic church). Not written very well, though. Confusing and all over the place, with no climax. Everything starts out slow and very descriptive, and remains that way throughout the whole book, where it ends too quickly and doesn't really explain much of anything. I would not recommend.
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Kim Michele Richardson is actively involved in victim abuse and works with legal advisors and government officials. Kim also works closely with many survivors/victims of all types of abuse. As the KY spokesperson for SNAP, Global, she is the go-to contact for news media for the endemic abuse crisis and has appeared on national radio, news print, TV news channels, and on PBS stations.

Kim is also a...more
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