Written by Torey Hayden , Beautiful Child “is a true tale of a child trapped in silence and the teacher who refuses to give up on her”. A touchy memoir told in unchallenged description and taints of emotions. Here is a book you’ll love to read.
Torey is new in Bob’s school and the first thing she notices is a child seated on the school wall, lolling back with legs outstretched, one drawn up, her hair tumbling behind her with her eyes closed and her face turned towards the sun. The name of the child is Venus Fox.
Torey’s class consists of Bill;, a dyslexic child, Jesse; who has Tourette Syndrome, Shane and Zane; the twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Venus Fox who simply won’t speak, won’t listen or acknowledge anything around her. She will only react when she feels threatened. In the event that this happens, she turns into a violent child, screaming, kicking and thrashing- and when it all ends she is back to being the unresponsive child and appears like nothing ever happened.
Torey is trained in the delivery of special education. She is strict and uses her authority to discipline the children who mostly have social problems. Billy is too enthusiastic, Jesse hates noise, Shane and Zane simply love commotions and Venus is simply Venus- electively mute.
She makes progress with the four boys but with Venus it is a dead end and all efforts seemingly fruitless. Her inquiry on Venus’ background reveals that all her siblings are challenged in one way or the other. Their mother has different hordes of men who are not particularly nice to the children. As the tale unfolds it turns out that Wanda, the girl with a woman like body is actually Venus’ mother and not her sister as previously believed. Apparently, the girl Wanda was sexually assaulted at thirteen years but does not really understand what happened to her as she is mentally challenged. Torey personalizes her education with Venus by engaging her during recess time through reading comics and watching cartoons. She gets Venus to respond to a particular comic known as She- Ra. The cartoon She- Ra has a magic sword. Torey makes a cardboard imitation of the sword which Venus plays with. Torey’s teaching aide however challenges the method that Torey uses. As Venus is Afro American, the aide argues that using a white heroin to inspire Venus is culturally incorrect. Torey is perturbed by her aide’s way of thinking and the fact that she actually challenges her.
Soon after the occurrence, Venus gets a homebound teacher after fighting in the playground and hurting one child. Torey is helpless as she cannot bring Venus back. She keeps on with her class of four and gets an additional part class learner, Gwennie who has High Functioning Autism. Thankfully there is still progress with the four regulars. Months later, Venus Fox is brought back. Torey has to start all over again. The initial progress, little as it was is apparently lost. She engages Venus as she did previously and gets a new student as well. The new student is called Alice. Soon enough however Venus misses classes and Torey learns that she has been admitted due to hypothermia. She additionally has a few broken bones. Torey is shocked and disappointed in her lack of realization that the child was being abused. Venus’ ‘mother’ is jailed together with her boyfriend and the children admitted to various foster homes. Venus gets loving foster parents though she still misses her home. She is brought back to class in a wheelchair. Torey engages her again and through Alice, the new pupil, they manage to get Venus to participate a little in class. This amounts to one of the greatest breakthroughs Torey has seen in dealing with her learners.