Nobody's Child: A Woman's Abusive Past and the Inspiring Dream That Led Her to Rescue the Street Children of Saigon

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9780802115515: Nobody's Child: A Woman's Abusive Past and the Inspiring Dream That Led Her to Rescue the Street Children of Saigon
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The author tells of her journey to Saigon in 1989 to help the city's street children

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A children's rights activist's devastating account of the violence and destitution in her own life, which eventually led her to work with bui doi, the street children of Ho Chi Minh City. Noble, with the help of journalist Coram (Caribbean Time Bomb, 1993), describes a childhood in Ireland tormented by her father's alcoholism and neglect, her mother's death, sexual abuse from a relative, and experiences as a street child and in Ireland's harshest girls' reformatory. In her late teens she fled to England, where she endured 14 years in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage. After a breakdown, she left her husband, went into therapy, remarried, started a successful catering business, and, in a dream, realized that she was destined to work with children in Vietnam. In 1989, after her own three children were grown, she went to Ho Chi Minh City. She raised money to build a medical and social center for an orphanage there and to start her own foundation to help street children. Written with painful precision and clarity, the accounts of Noble's own suffering are disturbing and illuminate the source of her empathy for the desperate. But at times the narrative of her adult life is vague and tentative; her children emerge as sympathetic but flat characters, as do individual Vietnamese children. Similarly, she glosses over the end of her second marriage, blandly noting that her husband ``found someone else.'' Toward the end of the book, Noble lapses into trite humanitarian rhetoric, declaring, for instance, that ``we must heal each other like brothers and sisters.'' Such strategies of detachment read oddly, especially given the honesty and intimacy with which Noble has disclosed the emotional hardship of her younger years. Despite some holes, a heartbreaking story of a woman's survival and triumph against terrible odds. (First printing of 35,000; author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Despite the subtitle, much of the book deals with Noble's life before Vietnam. Born in Dublin in 1944, she endured a childhood marred by her father's alcoholism, her mother's illnesses and abject poverty. After her mother's death, she ended up in a school for incorrigible girls in Galway. Returning to Dublin at age 16, she was gang-raped and bore a son, whom she turned over for adoption. After immigrating to England, Noble married an abusive Greek man and had three children by him. She spent time in mental institutions and eventually remarried. In 1971, she dreamed of going to Vietnam to work with street children, and in 1989, that dream came true as she journeyed to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to work with orphans. Overcoming official obstructions through sheer persistence, she founded a children's center and now works with the Vietnamese government on other projects. Along with freelancer Coram, Noble has written a painfully frank and at times riveting autobiography.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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