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The Unbreakable Child: A Memoir About Forgiving the Unforgivable

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  762 Ratings  ·  82 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
Nov 04, 2010 Susan Ideus rated it it was amazing
"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
Aug 07, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
"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
May 31, 2009 Alice rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2016 Juanita rated it really liked it
Review: The Unbreakable Child by Kim Michele Richardson.

This is a disturbing true story of abuse to children in a Catholic orphanage in Kentucky. The story is narrated by a victim who spent nine years confined to the orphanage with her three sisters. It’s also the story of a lawsuit brought against the order of nuns who ran the orphanage. Her attorney, William McMurray an advocate for abused children, and herself wanted justice for the other forty-five other victims. Richardson explains her abus
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
May 27, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Courageous and sad.
Michelle Eaker
Feb 25, 2016 Michelle Eaker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
This book was a roller coaster of emotions, very powerful and gut wrenching.
Cj Caudill
Nov 25, 2016 Cj Caudill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tragic story of abuse in the church

This is a very true and very scary look in to the lives of children left to be cared for by a Church and the unspeakable abuse these children suffered at the hand of the people who were suppose to protect them and nurture them. Forgotten by a too busy society and basically left to fend for themselves. Very riveting and very sad, but yet, all too true.
debra burch
Jun 18, 2017 debra burch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down

I like that the story keeps you interested. You think this has to get you read on and on
Feb 24, 2017 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking and difficult to read

I commend Ms. Richardson for telling her story. What a terrible childhood she and these children endured at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them . Sadly, many children face daily some of the horrors she shares. It truly breaks my heart to know that any child experiences the feelings of fear, neglect, pain and abuse. As difficult of a subject as this is to approach, only by revealing the ugliness can it be brought to light and be stopped. I pray
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
Apr 14, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it
This book paints a horrifying picture of what life was like for (at least one) orphans at the St. Thomas-St. Vincent Orphan Asylum in Kentucky. The abuse the author, her sisters, and other orphans faced was absolutely horrendous. Even on potential "forever family" visits, horrible abuse was also the norm. I still cannot fathom how anyone, especially those of the cloth, could treat another human being, let alone a child, the way the author was treated.

The only real issue I have with this book is
Pam Koenig
Jul 18, 2014 Pam Koenig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I don't know why I chose today to read this book, but I couldn't stop till I finished it. I know there are thousands who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy from all religions. It is still happening today, in many parts of the world. I grew up a Catholic, and remember many kind, and loving priests and nuns, but also some that weren't. The good outweighed the bad. I still remember, the priest who hit the boys and said they should go to hell, the one who propositioned me, nuns who made
Phillip Elliott
Jan 05, 2016 Phillip Elliott rated it it was amazing
Kim Richardson is an excellent story teller. She relates some of the horrific particulars of her childhood and she does it in such a way as to make the story bearable to read. I have read several books written by abused children and can’t wrap my mind around how someone can harbor so much hate for a child. I look at my grandchildren and see them in context of these stories and it breaks my heart. So I read another account in a vain attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible abuse and hatred infl ...more
Denise Baer
Mar 23, 2011 Denise Baer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperback, nonfiction
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
Oct 20, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2016 Candice rated it it was ok
I struggled with this book. Not because of the subject matter but because of the plausibility of the author. Some of her "memories" do not seem reliable.
Dumped in a Catholic orphanage at the age of 3, along with her 2 sisters, the author has clear memories/recollections of her earliest childhood years. I have a difficult time believing that she accurately recalls what happens at the age of 3. The author jumps around from her deposition to the lawyers back to her childhood. The story does not fl
Melissa Sloop
May 17, 2014 Melissa Sloop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2010 G.J. rated it it was amazing
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
Chelcee Williams
Bad girls go to hell.

This book was written in two perspectives, child Kim growing up in the orphanage, and adult Kim suing the church. I applaud the author for all she has done for other victims and for having the courage to tell her story. That being said, I could have done with much less of the description of the legal battle but understand it's importance to the author. I also would have preferred to have to stories separated, just to be able to keep up with the timeline a little bit better.
Patty Blaney
Jun 29, 2014 Patty Blaney rated it liked it
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
May 05, 2014 Jean rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 06, 2009 Kathleen rated it liked it
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
Nov 19, 2014 Patsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True shocking, children's abuse in a Kentucky Catholic orphanage.

This true story is very touching. Sad it had too be told. 3 sister's are in a Catholic orphanage, all though their mother is still alive. She is addicted took drugs. Daily physical, mental and sexual abuse occurs to the author and her roommates. Finally as a married adult the youngest seeks legal help as her memories progress. It exposes a huge cover up in the church system. I would of liked to know more about the mother who came b
Denise Hisey
Jan 01, 2015 Denise Hisey rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting, as I couldn't put it down.
It simultaneously made my blood boil at the Catholic Church, and broke my heart for Michele, her sisters, and all the other vulnerable children.

Michele writes with clarity, but not too graphically. I appreciated that, as the subject matter is gruesome.

This book is in the arena of "Oranges & Sunshine" and "The Orphan Train."

May all the survivors of Catholic Church abusers gain strength from Michele's book, knowing the truth is finally
Apr 15, 2015 maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book should be read by any Catholic clergy and or practicing Catholics. I come from a very large Catholic family and went my whole life to Catholic schools. Although not orphaned, I feel I am a Catholic school survivor due to harsh punishments and abuse the nuns dished out on a daily basis. My heart just broke for these orphaned children and the abuse they suffered all day every day. I am so happy the author was able to get past and have a happy forever family.

Donna Semenza
Apr 10, 2015 Donna Semenza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would highly recommend reading this book.

I could not put this book down. It was disturbing and at times brought me to tears and anger at the same time. As a Catholic myself I have been brought up to believe that the clergy are all loving and forgiving and trustworthy. A child should feel safe being under their guidance. The cruelty and abuse shown to those innocent children was horrific. I'm sorry, but they should all burn in hell. Kim. and the other orphans endured more than any of us could e
Jul 23, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 12, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
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.
Shirley Dagle
May 12, 2014 Shirley Dagle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Kim Michele Richardson resides in Kentucky mostly, and part time in Western NC. She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, and has also partnered with the U.S. Navy globally for domestic violence abuse awareness and education.

Liar’s Bench is her first novel. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable C
More about Kim Michele Richardson...

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“Then I surrendered the innocent heart of my childhood and extended my hand to Satan. I walked into Hell, conversed with demons past, found my stolen tears and painfully wept, tasting those acrid drops. Shaking my fists to the heavens, I questioned my God many times, “I’m so disappointed in you, God. So disappointed,” I sobbed. “You,” I fought to catch my breath, “you forgot to tell the world I was supposed to be a princess, God, a princess! Somebody’s princess. So disappointed, so very . . .” 1 likes
“I accepted that some things in life could never, and maybe should never be explained.” 1 likes
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