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Guardians' Betrayal: What Happens Seven Years After Adoption

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Guardians' Betrayal: What Happens Seven Years After Adoption.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Johanna Van Zanten(Author)

    Book details

Guardians’ Betrayal is a story told from the point of view of the three main characters through interwoven alternating perspectives of Shayla, her mom Bernice and her dad Tom, enlightening the reader that there’s more to a family than the eye meets. Shayla’s birth parents abandoned her. At age ten she came into foster care, together with her younger sister, Abby. Tom and Bernice adopted both girls soon after. Shayla is insecure and doesn’t have a lot of friends. Seven years after adoption, her long-forgotten older sister contacts her and announces her birth dad wants to reconnect. Her past abandonment haunts her and she has terrifying flashbacks of her old life. She starts shoplifting. All hell breaks lose when Bernice wants to slow down a reconnection with her birth dad. Shayla uncharacteristically rebels and starts keeping secrets from her mom. She has a few parties at friend’s house, and is planning to end her virginity, determined to turn her crush into her boyfriend. Bernice suspects Tom has an affair, as he barely participates in the family, due to his busy work schedule. Bernice has him followed by a P.I., who confirms what she feared. She confronts Tom, who can no longer deny the facts; he leaves the family. Bernice has trouble with accepting the reality of raising a family of four alone and fails in dealing with a rebellious Shayla without Tom. She realizes she needs help when she discovers Shyla’s self-harming and contacts Shayla’s birth-dad. She is pleasantly surprised when she meets him. Tom is disappointed, when all of Bernice’s attention is for the children. He moves in with his new love, but life with this young lady is not as wonderful as expected, and the shine soon disappears from that idyll. He misses the equality and fairness of his marriage with Bernice and really misses the children. With the re-appearance of Shayla’s birth dad in the life of the family, his place in the family is at risk. Tom makes a point of faithfully showing up for his planned activities with his young sons and studies how his family members relate to the new man. When Shayla gets caught shoplifting, Tom offers to go to court with her. Are relationships between guardians and children strong enough to face the truth? Is the marriage going to survive? Is the family going to pull through? Read Guardians’ Betrayal, a book for adults and mature young adults with an interest in adoption.

Johanna was born and raised in The Netherlands. She obtained a Fine Arts degree in Amsterdam and entered the social work profession as a creative therapist in an addiction treatment center in Amsterdam. She immigrated to Canada in her early thirties, married a Canadian, had a daughter, and returned to university; she graduated from University of Victoria in BC with a Bachelor’s degree in social work. Since 1982, she worked in a variety of community settings and positions in Albert and BC – the last 17 years in child protection.   She discovered writing later in life and finally put her long-held wish to write a book one day into action with publishing On Thin Ice – a short story collection – in 2012 while taking intensive writing courses, enjoying the act of writing as a life-giving force. Johanna wrote her stories to inspire and entertain her readers, and share what life taught her.

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Johanna Van Zanten(Author)
  • BookBaby (November 16, 2017)
  • English
  • 9
  • Parenting & Relationships

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Review Text

  • By Johanna van zanten on October 17, 2017

    KIRKUS REVIEWIn Van Zanten’s (On Thin Ice, 2012) novel, a family with adopted children faces issues that threaten to tear them apart.Sisters Shayla, 10, and Abby, 6, are too young to remember why they were taken away from their mother, Nora. All they know is that, one day, their social worker, Bernice Harrison, chaperones them to Nora’s funeral and then adopts them. Years later, three members of the Harrison family grapple quietly with their problems: Shayla, now 17, develops a shoplifting habit, worries that her two best friends like each other more than they like her, and wonders if her crush, Eric, reciprocates her feelings. Then Shayla’s half sister, Anna Michaud, contacts her, offering to introduce her to her birth father, Gabriel, and Shayla is thrilled at the prospect. Meanwhile, Bernice’s husband, Tom, grows increasingly attracted to his 25-year-old receptionist, Marla, and begins an affair with her. Bernice, for her part, feels besieged on all fronts. She worries that Shayla’s biological father, a shiftless addict the last time she saw him, won’t be a good influence on the young woman. (She and Shayla have dramatic, dayslong fights on the matter.) She also feels increasingly distraught about her marriage, as Tom keeps “working late” and declines to have sex with her. As Bernice’s, Tom’s, and Shayla’s troubles deepen and harsh truths come to light, the family’s bonds are tested. Despite Bernice’s unique position as Shayla’s former social worker, the story’s central problems—teen angst, infidelity—are fairly quotidian. But that very normalcy makes Van Zanten’s story all the more engrossing, as the characters work through their turbulent feelings and find solutions through mature discussion. Along the way, the author sensitively renders their emotions: “she pushed away thoughts about those confusing times of long ago; a pervasive sense of weariness always surfaced.” However, the reasons why Marla is attracted to her middle-aged boss are never explained, and the way that Shayla talks can be distracting: “Omigod, this is so excellent; like, I will have my dad back!”An often emotionally insightful portrait of family life.

  • By Sarah Stuart on November 24, 2017

    Bernice and Tom both have good jobs, and two pre-kindergarten sons. A marriage made in heaven, until Bernice, an experienced social worker, attends the funeral of the mother of two sisters who are in foster care. Allowing Shayla and Abby to stay with their birth father is impossible, even if he wanted them; he is a drunken drug-addict, but at ten and six the girls have no chance of adoption unless…Bernice persuades Tom that two daughters will complete their family. Bernice knows adoptive children go through a honeymoon period when they try to please their new parents, but when they feel secure they kick against the boundaries, but she fails to warn Tom.Shayla is seventeen before a contact with a member of her birth family brings her into conflict with Bernice, and pushes her closer to sleep-around friends and a pot-smoking boy, and away from Tom who is already the target of a predatory female…Guardians’ Betrayal is a fascinating in-depth look inside an ordinarily successful family when the pressure is on and stresses combine that could rip six lives apart.I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and I’m delighted to say I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I recommend it to all readers who enjoy a clean read, an intriguing plot, and a soupçon of suspense.

  • By Philosopher's stoned on November 6, 2017

    Guardians' Betrayal, by Johanna van Zanten, is a story of a family with adopted children who find themselves in the middle of a life crisis brought upon not only by the return of the children's biological relatives, but also by several personal problems.The novel balances awkwardly between genres, which complicates matters both in terms of audience and analysis. Perhaps the subject matter would suggest that it is a literary-fiction work, but it lacks the depth, self-reflection, and character realism to call it that. Alternatively, one could conceive it in terms of a bildungsroman novel - arguably the main or at least pivotal character being a teenage girl - but such stories also require a certain degree of narrative depth that is absent here.The language itself is generally good, adequately describing characters and events without any glaring flaws in terms of syntax or grammar. The plot is generally engaging, keeping the reader’s interest and, paired with the relative simplicity the topic is approached, I expect most people to be able to finish this book and feel content with their time investment.Having said that (and perhaps inevitably from the point of view of literary fiction, because this is what the subject matter forces the reader to expect), the narrative is a bit too linear and straightforward, lacking the narrative weaving that could take the reader to a journey. Some scene mixing and deliberate withholding of information from the reader would help produce a result with greater affective power. As it stands, there is far too much direct exposition, which makes the characters come off as a bit too naïve, lacking depth and realism. There is too much info on what we see (action), and too little on what we don't (context, inner worlds, self-reflection). Almost all of the latter comes in the form of direct questions posed by the narrator ("Was her relationship with Shayla not as solid as she thought?" "Had she and Tom failed?"), which comes off as distinctly unconvincing and direct, without the subtlety required by the genre. Furthermore, the book is heavy on dialogue, light on descriptions – causing problems in pace, as the narrative plot points and scenes come off as unconvincing. It felt at times that the author was eager to touch upon as many topics as possible (family life, adoption, unfaithfulness, drug abuse, shoplifting, self-harm) but the narrative spreads thin and none of these get the depth required.All in all, and to partly counter the criticism above, I can’t say this is a bad book. As I mentioned, I expect most people to enjoy reading it – especially those interested in stories about families. But at the same time, it’s an awkward book to place in terms of genre, which makes it important for a prospective reader to understand what it is and what it isn’t.

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