Book Review: Lovey – Mary McCracken


‘Me lovey’  – A remarkable story of a girl and a woman who refused to give up on her.

Working in a school for children with severe emotional problems and learning difficulties, Mary is often faced with challenging students but often puts a positive spin on things. On the first day of term, however, her well organised plans are thrown out of the window with the news she will be taking on a new student this year in her small class of four, a student no other teacher has been able to control. Before even setting foot in her classroom Hannah begins to resist, the child can only be likened to a ‘wild animal’ but despite all odds Mary manages to calm her down enough to get her into the classroom.

Although it sound cheesy, this book is a journey. I loved following the story and it felt like I was right beside Mary, Hannah and the rest of the boys in the class. The boys are also loveable and sweet, each with their own challenges and despite initial resistance to Hannah the boys become a key part in her recovery and the steps she takes.  As you’d expect though this is not a smooth transition of recovery, as well as being a teacher Mary needs to be extremely caring and attuned to each child’s individual needs. It takes someone very patient and very special to work with children with learning and emotional difficulties and Mary’s strength is an inspiration to us all.

Now I’m not saying the book is light, fluffy and an easy read because it’s not. Your heart aches for both Mary and the children. These children are so young but have been labelled and have been through traumatic experiences for their age but little by little Mary begins to build their confidence and deal with any set backs they have. Her use of calming techniques and focused attention mean these children get what they need and for Hannah being called ‘lovey’ by anyone makes her explode with joy.

As we move through the year with the children I doubt anyone could not marvel at the children’s response to Mary and the environment of the small school. It made me think about the facilities that are needed to help students like this get better and back into mainstream education, more as a transition stage rather than a permanent fixture.

I want to give this book 4 stars ****, I absolutely loved it! I initially expected a novel full of sadness and misery but was greeted with something very different. This is a story of hope, hard work and determination, although I warn you the ending is definitely bitter-sweet. It also spreads a wider message, even children with difficulties are so worth it and we should never give up on them. Mary is an extraordinary woman and the children had a place in my heart from the start. You’ll be pleased to know we do get to hear what they get up to later in life but you’ll have to wait and read to find out!

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