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Summary

His name was Kevin but his keepers called him Zoo Boy. He didn't talk. He hid under tables and surrounded himself with a cage of chairs. He hadn't been out of the building in the four years since he'd come in. He was afraid of water and wouldn't take a shower. He was afraid to be naked, to change his clothes. He was nearly 16.

Desperate to see change in the boy, the staff of Kevin's adolescent treatment center hired Hayden. As Hayden read to him and encouraged him to read, crawling down into his cage of chairs with him, Kevin talked. Then he started to draw and paint and showed himself to have a quick wit and a rolling, seething, murderous hatred for his stepfather.

©1983 Torey Hayden (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Murphy's Boy

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Wonderful and Moving

Torey once again brings the story to life. I listened to the book in one weekend and didn't want to stop. It's a must listen in my opinion. If you like to laugh and then in the next minute be deeply moved, this book is for you. Definitely my book of the year. Buy it now!

2 people found this helpful

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good book

a really good book. a very sad but interesting book. very well written and narated. i would recommend this book i really felt sorry for kevin it is sad these things go on. i will read more of this author's books.

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very gripping story

This book is great. it is so easy to listen to and the story line pulls you in and keeps you wanting to listen to more xx

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interesting gripping story throughout

and he started to sound out words making his lips form letter sounds.... h h e he

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really good

as ever, a classic of Torey Haydens amazing true stories! easy to follow, superbly written and a full total story which is a pleasant surprise!

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Struggle to stay interested

A nice ending but struggled to stay interested at times and nearly gave up , overall just an okay book

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Profile Image for Cherish
  • Cherish
  • 14-10-15

want to meet Kevin

I want to meet Kevin within the first 10 chapters, by the second section I just want to hug him like a mother would their own son. By the 3rd section I pray he has an amazing life from here on. Such an amazing story

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  • Amber
  • 25-04-22

one of my favorite authors

my only regret is that I finished it so fast! I've read many of her books and this was the first I listened to. highly recommend!

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  • SchroederTx
  • 01-02-22

Great Book

I read this book MANY years ago. I just started buying the audiobooks of Ms Hayden. My only druther … an update on Kevin / Brian.

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  • Pink Amy
  • 27-09-21

Interesting

I’m on a Torey Hayden binge. In MURPHY’S BOY, Kevin, a selective-mute teenager is her client. Over several years they work together through his anger and trauma. At times Kevin is violent, so violent Torey fears for his safety. Most everyone has given up on him, but Torey refuses.

MURPHY’S BOY is another dated book. Some of the terminology is antiquated and cringe-worthy. In one case a male therapist is fired because he’s “a homosexual” which is still legal in some states in the USA.

Torey frustrates me, at times brilliant with clients, yet often unethical and probably breaks laws. In one case, Kevin has a formulated plan and has built a weapon to kill his stepfather. Hayden not only doesn’t document this or alert the other members of the team in order to protect Kevin, she confiscates the homemade knife and brings it back because she promised Kevin she would. As therapists, we have an ethical obligation and duty to inform when someone is homicidal. Kevin not only had a plan, he talked about it week after week. Additionally, he was a resident in a treatment facility that Torey visited to see him a few times a week. Not alerting staff was reckless. Yet, at times she shows so much skill and patience she seems like she is giving him a chance at a decent life.

I truly enjoyed MURPHY’S BOY, but can’t rate it higher because of her ethical quagmires.

***ETA Hayden repeatedly refers to Kevin as ugly and unattractive. Even if I thought that about a client, which I likely wouldn’t because my brain doesn’t usually go there in terms of physical unpleasantness, I would never, ever write it in a book about a REAL PERSON, especially who might or might not read the book. If I think about all the kids I’ve worked with, some are cuter than others, some stunning or downright adorable. Every one had something worthy of positive mention.

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  • Karlees123
  • 07-06-20

good but repetitive

I love Torey Hayden but this book was hard for me. she seemed to lengthen the book substantially by drawing out scenes and saying things over and over. still a good story but not favorite.

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  • MountainMom
  • 25-10-18

Incredible

The story was incredible, but very difficult to hear in parts so if you are sensitive you would be better off skipping this book. Though if you're looking to read a Torey Hayden book you're probably not too sensitive for this one. I didn't care for the narrator. Her voice didn't match up to how I imagine Torey's to sound and it is a bit stiff/mechanical at times. I really would have preferred a different narrator, but this was an enthralling tale regardless.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-10-18

I loved it.

I loved Loretta, the way she read it made me not want to put the book down. The story was amazing!!! I love Torey Hayden, her books are amazing. moving on to the next book of hers.

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  • Lace M. Jackson
  • 23-03-18

Enjoyed and Unforgetable

Loved it. It was emotional and unforgetable. I fell inlove by the end of it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-05-17

Murphys boy

story long winded and narrator not good at all very slow in place's and just could not get on with her voice

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  • Beth
  • 16-01-17

Powerful, Heartbreaking, Heartwarming

Hated for it to end. An incredible story about a broken kid & the incredible therapist who patiently & lovingly helped to restore him. Would like to know the rest of his story.