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Summary

The heartbreaking, iconic true story of an abandoned little boy's horrific journey through the American foster care system.

One misty evening, Jennings Michael Burch's mother, too sick to care for him, left her eight-year-old son at an orphanage with the words, "I'll be right back." She wasn't.... Shuttled through a bleak series of foster homes, orphanages, and institutions, Jennings never remained in any of them long enough to make a friend. Instead, he clung to a tattered stuffed animal named Doggie, his sole source of comfort in a frightening world.

Here, in his own words, Jennings Michael Burch reveals the abuse and neglect he experienced during his lost childhood. But while his experiences are both shocking and devastating, his story is ultimately one of hope - the triumphant tale of a forgotten child who somehow found the courage to reach out for love and found it waiting for him.

©1985 Jennings Michael Burch (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“A deeply moving and inspiring story.” (Alan Arkin)

“Everyone who cares about the quality of life and the future of nation should read this book.” (William R. Bricker, National Director, Boys Clubs of America)  

“This heartbreaking, shocking, ultimately triumphant tale is an extremely important book.” (Lucy Freeman, author of Fight Against Fears

What listeners say about They Cage the Animals at Night

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Profile Image for Selene Rackley
  • Selene Rackley
  • 24-05-18

Very interesting story

I enjoyed this true story so much and wish I would have learned more of Jenning's life as he grew older. I've read other books about those monstrous orphanages. What makes someone be cruel to a child. I hope others will read this story. I recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cedricka
  • 03-02-20

Thank God for always being there for Jennings

I love this book so much i read it 3 time and i still cry when Jennings cry and happy when he find the love and care he deserves... i thank you Jennings Michael Burch for sharing you're story and i hope that one day I'm brave enough as you to share mines with the world too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-01-20

awesome book

favorite book in the world. very well wrote. could read this book a dozen times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 30-09-19

One of my favorite books in high school

This book, and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian were some of my top favorite books as a child in high school and as an adult now. Coming from a difficult childhood myself, I found love in these books that I didn't really find anywhere else. This book is a cherished memory. I'm so glad they finally have it on Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CarolineWade
  • 31-08-19

One less animal to cage

This was a really great book! I love the way the author pulls you into his childhood. Some very sad moments, but through the story Doggy provided great comfort.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elena Maria Regalado
  • 20-07-19

Wonderfully written and spectacular narration

This is such a heart felt story. It makes you great fun for what you have and wish you could give more to kids in need.

1 person found this helpful

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  • YTW
  • 15-02-19

Good book

This is the saddest book ever it is amazing you should read it you will like it

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  • Nichole
  • 02-01-19

love it

I read this book when i was in school and loved it. i downloaded the audio book and it was just as good as i remember. Heartbreaking yet inspiring and hopeful.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-10-18

This book pulled at all of my heart strings.

this is a remarkable story of overcoming the odds. I see this kind of scarimenss everyday. Hard to believe not much has changed in the system.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KIC
  • 16-10-18

Sadly, I got pretty bored with this one.

I do generally enjoy autobiographies. Jennings' story has all the elements of a great, though heartbreaking story.

I think a combination of the narrator, the pacing of the story, and the perspective from the child only, with no insight or retrospect from the adult authour just doesn't give me the depth I usually appreciate from autobiographies.

It's just the authour's choice, putting the story together in this way, and I don't think I'll even finish it. There's no idea of who Jennings is now. It's like you're floating along side his childhood self, watching helplessly as he is tossed from this home to that.

The language and emotional tone is repetitive. "Oh boy, oh gosh, gee whiz" yet there is no emotive elements to the performance, and the conversation feels flat.

1 person found this helpful