Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater

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Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater

Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A useful overview of the state of adoption in the UK. Things lose their way somewhat when looking at the specific issues surrounding social networking and adoption, taking too narrow a viewpoint, despite the important points being made. There's plenty of useful information here, but it could have achieved even more.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 232 Date: January 2012
Publisher: MX Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1780920979

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Bubble Wrapped Children takes a look at the state of adoption in the UK, and how aspects of it are being threatened by the use of social networks. The author, with over 20 years' experience in the adoption world, paints a broad picture of the issues facing adopters and adoptees. Peppering the text are some examples of unwanted Facebook contact from birth parents, which have had massive knock-on effects for the adopted children.

Bubble Wrapped Children is at its strongest when it's highlighting the broad issues surrounding adoption. There are many lightbulb moments for ideas that (even though you'd like to think you sort of, kind of, knew them really) become memorable when seen in black and white. Helen Oakwater is absolutely right that the sweet face of adption reunion TV shows, where a mother had to give up her baby due to societal pressures of the past, bears little relation to most cases nowadays, featuring neglect and other mistreatment. Her line that children adopted today are frequently the Baby Peters who don't die is a powerful message for anyone who works with adopted children to have in the back of their mind.

When Oakwater moves from an overview to the specific issues surrounding social networks, the message is less powerful. There are, of course, considerations for any adopters when their child is using social networking. However, the issues raised don't take into full account the huge range of differences in every child and every situation. For non-tech-savvy adopters, it's a welcome reminder that it's something they should address or take guidance on. For adopters who would, in the normal course of things, educate their child about keeping safe online, it feels like an unnecessary angle to an otherwise thought-provoking book.

I'm afraid Bubble Wrapped Children is a little rough around the edges too. There is a smattering of typos. Some elements are repeated, as are some quotes. There are many graphics throughout the text, but some are poorly laid out, eg with text overlapping the surrounding box. Whilst the unusually high number of illustrations is a conscious choice, their low quality fuels the question of just how useful they are. Each issue in isolation could be brushed over, but, in combination, they take the shine off. The writing style is clear and engaging, but once you start down the path of picking holes elsewhere, areas where the writing could be tighter become more apparent.

Although there's scope for improvement, Bubble Wrapped Children is a useful read for anyone involved in adoption. Extended families, who won't attend the adoption training that adopters do, will find its overview gives them plenty to think about.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For other books addressing adoption, take a look at Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson, The Red Thread by Ann Hood, Return to Sender by Zoe Barnes, The Mistress's Daughter by A M Homes and The Battle for Christabel by Margaret Forster. Although we've not yet reviewed it on Bookbag, Dan Hughes' Building the Bonds of Attachment (which also features in the bibliography for Bubble Wrapped Children) is a must-read.

Buy Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater at Amazon.com.


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