Book Review - The Gus Chronicles
Reflections from an Abused Kid

By: Charles D. Appelstein, M.S.W. (and Gus E. Studelmeyer)

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Thanks.

The Gus Chronicles is a fictional story about a kid, Gus E. Studelmeyer, that is living in a residential treatment center(RTC). The author uses a fictional person to address realistic situations in an RTC, and for the most part does a very good job.

The main character "Gus" is the narrator of the book and tells his story as a resident in an RTC. He also interviews and talks with other characters to get their perspective. Topics covered in the book include: Residential Treatment: A Child's Perspective, Restraints, Foster Care, Bedtime and happenings during the night(sexual acting out, bed wetting, etc), families perspective of residential care, activities, self esteem, etc. The book is easy reading and presents information with little of the psychological speak. It does a good job of using terminology and phrases common to residential childcare.

This book would be excellent reading for somebody thinking about getting into residential childcare. It will give you a good idea of some of the situation and behaviors you will have to face, keeping in mind that the frequency and severity of the situations presented in the book would be much less for the majority of workers in residential foster care and community group home facilities. This book would be good reading for those already in child care. It will at the very least encourage you to slow down and thinks about what we do from the other side.

WARNING: This book contains profanity!!. Because the author is trying to paint a realistic picture of life in an RTC for the youth, he uses some of the same language the youth in RTC's actually use. Although one of our goals is to help youth express themselves properly, with some it is a long hard road; you are going to hear some bad words working with troubled youth. This book will give you a chance to test your feelings about that.

Things I didn't really like about the book - The RTC that Gus is at transforms into this utopian facility that does away with it's level system, lets the families of the residents hang out at the center, and establishes these fantastic partnerships with the parents. This is where the book really shows itself as fiction. Not many places like it in the real world, although the author is very correct in pointing out that the vast majority of us are under-funded, and/or under-staffed, and/or under-trained but working real hard to help kids and families with the resources we have.

The only other beef I have is trying to pass off Gus as a kid with an I.Q. of 163 (although many of the kids I have worked with have very high IQ's) so that he can present some of the more technical points the author wants to address; kind of cheesy (my personal opinion, feel free to disagree) I personally would have preferred a second character to present the nuts & bolts.

I am going to read the second book "The Gus Chronicles II" (once I get it back from a co-worker) and will share my thoughts with you when I am done. Done: Click here to read the review.

You can buy the book from Amazon.com by Clicking here - The Gus Chronicles 

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