Lovey by Mary MacCracken

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Lovey by Mary MacCracken

Lovey by Mary MacCrackenStars: ****

Harper Collins UK (2014) (Reprint from 1974)
Memoirs/Special Education/Child Abuse
256 pages

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Summary: This deeply moving memoir tells the story of Hannah: a child who has been beaten and abused; a girl full of loneliness and rage; a student no one but learning disabilities teacher Mary MacCracken could reach. Mary had reservations about eight-year-old Hannah joining her class. The three emotionally disturbed boys she was currently looking after had been making steady progress, and Hannah, who had a reputation for being a withdrawn and incredibly troubled child, would only be a disruptive influence. For the first fortnight Hannah retired to a cupboard and refused to come out. Howling almost non-stop she was displaying the worst symptoms that Mary had ever seen. How could Mary help a child who had been shut up in closets and treated like an animal? What could she say to a child who had been locked out of her own home, and beaten by both her brother and her father? How could she reach this lost girl?

This is the remarkable story of Hannah and Mary’s journey together. Deep within Hannah, Mary recognises an amazing strength. And with love, skill and patience, she gradually starts to make a difference. It’s a long road to recovery, but Mary never gives up. As this moving true story unfolds, we feel Mary’s joy, we share her hope and, in time, her faith that Hannah will be okay.


I read a similar book way back when called One Child by Torey Hayden. In fact there is a quote by the author on the front of the Lovey book. I figured I enjoyed One Child and if the author enjoyed Lovey, so would I.

I did enjoy the book but there were a few things that bothered me. The first is the cover. I realize that the people on covers aren’t necessarily the people depicted in a memoir but the girl on the cover is small and blond and Hannah (Lovey is a nickname) is large and a red-head. It just bothers me because I had this idea of what Lovey looks like from the cover and so I had a hard time imagining her differently after that.

Second of all is the language that is used when referring to Lovey. I think this is because it was originally written in the 70s. Mary refers to Hannah/Lovey as fat. I know the word didn’t have quite as much as a negative connotation as it does now in our world where fat is a bigger insult than saying poor or dumb. Still, it bothered me.

Overall though, the story is wonderful. It’s so nice to hear how Mary helped Hannah to come out of her shell and be more independent. What she did for that family is amazing and I was sad when the story ended.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.