Susan Thomas is a middle-school guidance counselor, teacher, and social
worker in Milton, Ontario.
The book jacket sums up Aftermath as follows: “When an eleven year old
child dies in the care of the state, first come the headlines, then
comes the aftermath. … Cameron takes us inside families that are a
nightmare of hand-me-down dysfunction watched over by a child welfare
system that covers the butts of everyone except the kids.”
Unfortunately, the book does not deliver. Although the early chapters
provide some insight into the frightening world of child abuse, it takes
too long for the story to get off the ground. By the time the child dies
and the child-welfare system is finally held up to scrutiny, the reader
is as weary as the social worker, Anna Fleming, whose designated role is
to show “what caring really means.”
Aftermath is not, as the jacket copy maintains, “deeply moving and
profoundly hopeful”; on the contrary, it is a protracted tale of
misery. Not recommended.