Hello everyone and welcome to my stop, somewhat a little late…:).
There is no doubt that “Orphan Monster Spy” will pique the interest of many. It did mine, but if we look beyond the fictional aspect for a minute, we find that sadly, a lot of what, the main character Sarah is going through, is the reality of many and Matt Killeen explores this reality below.
I hope you will enjoy it…it will make you stop and think. I know it did me.
Sarah Goldstein of Orphan Monster Spy
Sarah’s life has been coming to pieces for as long as she can remember. Whether it was disappearance of her father, the slow decomposition of her mother’s sobriety and sanity or the loss of all her rights as a Jew in Nazi Germany, her existence has grown smaller, poorer, harder, more violent and has featured less and less food.
She has used her smarts and skills to keep herself and her mother alive but as Orphan Monster Spy begins, the fifteen-year-old Sarah is orphaned as they try to escape to Switzerland. All alone in a strange town, she runs into and saves a British agent, a man indirectly responsible for her mother’s violent death. He recognizes her special abilities – she’s a gifted athlete and a cunning actress with a talent for sneaking and snooping – but critically, she’s blonde and blue-eyed. So, he offers her a job, a terrifying, dangerous and difficult job…and to become a traitor to her country.
He sends her undercover in a school for the daughters of elite Nazis so she can infiltrate the estate of a reclusive nuclear scientist…but the school is full of human monsters and the mission becomes a living nightmare.
Sarah has, despite everything that has been done to her, a seam of compassion and a fierce sense of right and wrong. These guide her and inhibit her, a source of strength and a dangerous weakness in the dog eat dog world of Rothenstadt School. Her greatest asset is refusal to surrender and this has kept her alive all these years. Is it enough to keep her alive as he meets her greatest challenge?
Sarah Goldstein is a fictional heroine but the world she inhabits was all too real. Worse still, it lives on today in these insidious ways.
The idea that Sarah was her mother’s only caregiver sounds abusive, yet she was what is now called a young carer. There are 700,000 in the UK, children as young as six taking responsibility for sick or disabled relatives who have no one else to turn to. These families have been abandoned by the society with a responsibility to help but is instead in thrall to greed and selfishness. 68% of these caregivers are bullied in school and exhibit anxiety, depression and feelings of worthlessness.
Meanwhile, one in five children in the UK are affected by their parents’ drinking. They can look forward to a lifetime of struggle with their own mental health and an increased chance of developing their own substance abuse issues.
Incredibly, the corporal punishments of Rothenstadt are still legal in the UK, where physically attacking your child can still be considered “reasonable punishment”.
Children have been living in relative poverty in some of the world’s richest countries for decades, and more and more children in the UK are going to school with empty bellies.
The sexual abuse of children and other vulnerable people by those in positions of authority is still being institutionalized, concealed or dismissed as trivial, even by the UK Government who recently refused child victims entitled to compensation because they had ‘asked for it’.
Half of all young people have been bullied in the last year, with 145,000 children being bullied EVERY DAY.
Unlike the profiles on the rest of this blog tour, this bio doesn’t really celebrate the titular heroine, so resilient in the face of the vicious horrors that she lives through. It’s the launch day of Orphan Monster Spy and International Women’s Day, but I’m choosing not to celebrate one single fictional woman.
This is really about the young carers who are going about their day, trying to squeeze an education and a sliver of a personal life between caring for a family member. This profile celebrates those who are sacrificing their childhoods because there simply isn’t any other choice. This bio also recognises the children of alcoholic and drug-addicted parents. It’s for the children going to school hungry and still trying to learn and function. This post commemorates all those bullied children who can still get up every day, knowing what horror awaits them and the 76% of those who refuse to let their feelings of rage and powerlessness drive them to become bullies in their turn. Finally, this recognises those who have suffered abuse at the hands of people who should have been caring for them and yet manage to carry on living in the hope of something better.
We see you. We hear you. We are fighting for you.
If “Orphan Monster Spy” piques your interest, here’s the chance to win a copy.
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