To say that A.M. Grotticelli touched my heart in his book The Bond is an understatement. In this book, Grotticelli powerfully tells the story of his abuse-ridden youth, transition to a foster home, and challenges of facing adulthood as a foster child. Grotticelli’s authenticity and honesty are what makes this book so touching; unafraid to be vulnerable, his straightforwardness opens doors for the listener to truly get a glimpse of what foster home life is like. A tale adult readers should not miss out on, prepare to dive headfirst into the reality of what second chances can actually look like.
Grotticelli’s youth can be summed up in a few tragic sentences. His mother, gravely ill from breast cancer, died when he was still very young. After her death, Cosmo, his father, chose to abandon his children to an orphanage. Alcoholic and abusive, Cosmo could not support both his family and his lifestyle. The Grotticelli children spent about two and a half years in the orphanage, before finally, they were chosen to move in with a foster family.
Life at the orphanage had been very rough; abuse, theft, and mistreatment were common despite the best intentions of the nuns who ran it. Michael was bursting with joy to finally leave; there was nothing more he desired than to be loved and cared for by a real family. But he was in for a surprise when he realized that the Nelson family home would never truly be a place he could call home.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, Michael’s foster parents, had both good and bad traits that were reflected in the many foster children who passed through their doors. The relationship between foster child and parent was complex. On one end, the Nelsons saved Michael and many others from the orphanage. They gave them a home, adventures, pleasant times, and hope. But at the end of the day, Michael found out that the Nelson family took in foster children to get extra money from the state and used these children for physical and manual labor. Often emotionally and verbally abusive, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson had a variety of facades. Every foster child they housed had a different dynamic with these “parents.” Michael tells his own story of this relationship from initial entry into the Nelsons’ house and into adulthood, showing that not all circumstances are as black and white as they may appear.
This is really a book you have to read in its entirety to grasp Michael’s story, and you will not be disappointed with what he has to say. A survivor of events and unfair situations I cannot even fathom, Michael has much wisdom to impart, and I encourage all to partake in it.
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