The True Story of an Abandoned Child’s Struggle for Emotional Survival
by Jennings Michael Burch
They Cage the Animals at Night may be the first book that I literally could not put down. I read this in my early-teens. There were books before it that I couldn’t wait to pick up again and thought about every moment until I did, but I could not stop reading this book. I distinctly remember laying under my covers with a flashlight so as to not wake up my brother flipping page after page as the hours ticked by. Each chapter would end and each time I would tell myself, “Just one more chapter.” The next thing I knew, it was 5:30am in the morning and I had an hour before I had to wake up for school.
So, yeah, this is a Sticky Book… Unfortunately I could not find a copy to pull quotes from and there are very few online, so you’ll just have to trust me.
JMB: “Sister, why do you do that?”
S: “Do what?”
JMB: “Cage the animals at night?”
S: “Well…” She looked up and out through the barred window before answering me.”We don’t want to, Jennings, but we have to. You see, the animals that are given to us we have to take care of. If we didn’t cage them up in one place, we might lose them, they might get hurt or damaged. It’s not the best thing, but it’s the only way we have to take care of them.”
JMB: “But if somebody loved one of them,” I asked, “wouldn’t it be a good idea to let them have one? To keep, I mean?”
S: “Yes, it would be. But not everyone would love them and take care of them as you would. I wish I could give them all away tomorrow.” She looked at me. There were tears in her eyes. “But I can’t. My heart would break if I saw just one of those animals lying by the wayside uncared for, unloved. No, Jennings. It’s better if we keep them together.”
“The table and chair legs were like bars of the cage around me. This time they weren’t keeping me in, they were keeping her out.”
“But sometimes lying’s better. It makes me feel good.” I said. “But only for a little while. When the lie has to stand up from the truth and doesn’t, it hurts twice as much.”
“It’s the words,” he said. “So many people think their love won’t be accepted or returned, so they don’t say it. They think by not saying it, they won’t be hurt. They’re wrong.”
Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.
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