Book: The Foster Factory by David Learmontcategories: Book, Memoir, Humour, Non-Fiction, Family Relationships, Active Retirement, Foster Care
David Learmontabout this book: In The Times Higher Education magazine of June 2015 ('A look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers') The Foster Factory was described as follows: "This is an unusual, amusing, sometimes heart-rending memoir by Learmont, who, with his wife Marsha, became a foster carer late in life. He offers a compendium of family breakdowns and other social problems, narrated in a style ranging from Catch-22 to Bertie Wooster."
The Foster Factory begins at the end of David and Marsha's working life in their mid-sixties, he a retired expatriate English teacher, she an ex-social worker in Child Protection. Despite horrified reactions from family and friends, the intrepid oldies forge ahead, are fast-tracked for evaluation and training, and are soon dealing with a cast of characters that almost defies description and beggars belief. Jaynee's boyfriend studies "Table and Chair Management" at college; Skelly's father had murdered her mother with a piece of pipe from an unfinished jacuzzi, and Skelly stabs David with a kitchen knife; Soul, who had previously set fire to a convent (in Seoul), burns down David and Marsha's house, as well as destroying his first manuscript of The Foster Factory.
Enough was eventually enough for the two Foster Saints (David's words) and they entered upon their second retirement, this time in Europe's highest capital city, Andorra la Vella, bordered by Spain and France. The house they have bought was lived in briefly by Somerset Maugham, who wrote "It is an illusion that youth is happy."
The Foster Factory almost wrote itself after 3 years of being a foster carer. Such is the parlous state of shattered family lives in the world today, that our place of refuge -- our breakdown centre -- never remained untenanted for long. And the real villains of the piece are usually the parents. Writing in Malta Now, one reviewer said that The Foster Factory made him laugh on almost every page, and called it "a remarkable achievement." Let's hope other readers will agree.
The Foster Factory is in paperback as well as kindle and nook book, and is published by Andrews UK Ltd.
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