Friday, November 10, 2017
The Dionnes by Ellie Tesher ~ Book Review
When they were 9 and no longer bringing in the cash flow, the government turned their world upside down yet again and built a huge furnished house for their family, shut down the compound and forced them to go live with the family who were virtually strangers. Living in the fortress-like mansion, the sisters were kept isolated and separated from the world due to the father's fear of kidnapping while their other siblings lived normal lives. Trying to fit in was virtually impossible for everybody.
When they became young women their whole lives had been so abnormal, that they all came away as adults with many issues. Added to that was that the trust fund that was supposed to take care of them for life was found to be depleted by the very people that were supposed to manage it for them; their father and the trust fund board. From their fund everything the government was saying they were providing, the sisters were actually paying for. It was a strange upbringing brought about by a greedy government that interfered in the lives of a family when they saw potential for big dollars. By taking over, it allowed the exploitation of 5 little children, power struggles between government, the family and appointed care givers. Media manipulated a public who was in the throes of a depression and fed on their need to have something hopeful and happy to grasp onto. After two of the siblings passed away they disappeared from the public eye. This particular book looks at the sister's 1990's step back into the spotlight after years avoiding it to fight with the Ontario government to get what should have been rightfully theirs to begin with.
This book is older, published in 1999, but I was curious about their story. It is heartbreaking, totally unbelievable in today's thinking. It's a story of greed gone wrong, prejudices and views of the time, a public looking for something good in life to the point they were willing to overlook what was really happening, and a quest for justice. The author not only gave their childhood background, but also through conversations with the 3 surviving sisters looked at the how their adult lives were anything but a fairy tale as all were living in poverty with many issues. The author of the book, as a journalist, covered their story of pursuing justice and it helped cause a public outcry to force Ontario's government at the time to pay them what was due them. Very readable, super interesting and because of it's unbelievable happenings, it was hard to put down. I finished it in a couple of days.
I gave it a 8.5/10