The other shadow by Tania Ingram

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The Other Shadow is a stunning read; full of intense emotion, broken children and finally, hope and healing.

Ten year old Thomas and his two year old sister Tilly have just lost their beloved dad to cancer. Their mother is bereft. Her grief is incomprehensible and life as Thomas and Tilly once knew it is about to change dramatically. When their mother does not come back from the shops, the children are taken into foster care while their mother heals in hospital.  On returning back to their mum, life settles down for a while until it unravels and foster care is again sought. This is not an ideal placement and the children are moved once more to a new family, the Henare’s, where they find acceptance, stability, security and love.

Running parallel to the struggle Thomas and Tilly have coping with their mum’s mental illness and the foster family roundabout, is Thomas’s Other Shadow. Appearing after his dad passed away, this shadow is there for Thomas always but is it friend or foe? At times Thomas feels it is a guide and something to rely on but at other times it causes Thomas angst and leads him into some challenging situations. In the final dramatic scene in the story, the Other Shadow’s true purpose becomes evident. 

South Australian author of The Other Shadow, Tania Ingram, is a former clinical psychologist who is well qualified to write about the deep and lasting effects parental mental illness can have on children. In the final pages of this compelling story Tania explains bipolar disorder, briefly shares her experiences of children whose parents were struggling and provides contact details for children who may need support.

For those adults who educate, care and work with children in any capacity, The Other Shadow may open conversations for more understanding and support for these children whose own personal stories may not be quite what they appear to be.

Themes: Bipolar Disorder, Foster Families, Grief, Mental Illness, Neglect, School, Friendship, Bravery, Hope, Kindness.

Kathryn Beilby