Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.
Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.
True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.
But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.
Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.
As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.
If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.
I rated this book 5 *****’s
Sometimes mothers need to let go for a better future for the kids
This book gives me an insight on how kids feel when one parent is missing from there lives. It gives me also an insight of divorce and parents being single. I have not experienced any of these difficult situations in life. It is not easy am sure dealing situations like this.
Sometimes mothers need to let go for a better future for the kids. I would do the same if I am not capable enough of taking real good care of my kids. Sometimes we need to act selfish for them for their safety and future. The book is very emotional. I did not cry though but am found myself taking a big deep breath to continue reading this beautiful story.
I do not blame Alexis and Christa to feel that way towards their mother Jenny after not communicating for many years. I am sure that their feelings are normal. Yes! their could be hatred and they have the right to feel that way. Jenny is doing her best to catch up for the lost time with her kids after so many years. My hats off to her for making such big move for her to get to know her kids.
This book is suspense as well. The court scene feels so real to me. It is scary. The interrogations are so intense. One thing I dislike about this book is Jenny’s Dad. He is such an ass. How could you do that to your own grandkids. Despite Jenny missed ten years from her kids’ life, this woman is so brave and willing to die for her girls. She is so strong and hero.
Congrats Mr. Burnett, your story is so phenomenal. I highly recommend this book for parents who have troubled with communicating with their kids, divorced parents and single parents who never stop loving their kids unconditionally to give them the best in life to offer despite all the problems.
About the author
David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael’s journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.
David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.