They Cage the Animals at Night: The True Story of an Abandoned Child's Struggle for Emotional Survival (Signet) Info

Want to find out why is it important to have a good relationship with parents? Or simply how to improve your relationship? Check out our top books reviews for Family Relationships, Parenting, Family Activities,Special Needs and so much more. Find answers about They Cage the Animals at Night: The True Story of an Abandoned Child's Struggle for Emotional Survival (Signet) by Jennings Michael Burch and only download it when you feel like it. Read&Download They Cage the Animals at Night: The True Story of an Abandoned Child's Struggle for Emotional Survival (Signet) by Jennings Michael Burch Online


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

On a misty evening in Brooklyn, 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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

4.64

8782 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4.7
281
30
13
7
3
client-img 4.32
3833
3387
1098
4
1
client-img 4.9
47
56
34
1
1

Reviews for They Cage the Animals at Night: The True Story of an Abandoned Child's Struggle for Emotional Survival (Signet):

5

Apr 29, 2010

Caging More Than Just Animals
Interestingly enough, we got to read this in middle school. We also got to keep the books that were assigned to us. I still remember certain scenes where Jennings, the narrator, and the author of this autobiographical novel either received amazing amounts of love or terrible amounts of abuse.

Set in the 1950s, in New York City and its environs, we get the unforgettable account of a few years of Jennings's childhood. With his mother too tired, sick, and beaten down to Caging More Than Just Animals
Interestingly enough, we got to read this in middle school. We also got to keep the books that were assigned to us. I still remember certain scenes where Jennings, the narrator, and the author of this autobiographical novel either received amazing amounts of love or terrible amounts of abuse.

Set in the 1950s, in New York City and its environs, we get the unforgettable account of a few years of Jennings's childhood. With his mother too tired, sick, and beaten down to care for him and his brothers, he is shipped off several times to either foster homes or to orphanages. Early in the book we meet his constant friend, Doggie, a white and tan stuffed animal that was given to him, (at first) only at night, at the first home he stayed at. Each night the nuns would come around and collect the animals, caging them in little cubbies. This metaphor grows into the entire essence of the book. Through hardship, pain, emotional rampage, Jennings learns that stuffed animals are not the only thing that is caged for protection.

The orphans are locked up during the night and also during the day. Forced to listen for a clicker to get them to line up for dinner or a clap of the hands to get them to line up for lunch. The orphanages were sometimes a blessing in comparison to the homes Jennings is lent out to, where he learns that love and compassion are hard to find, even if they can be found anywhere. He cages up his ability to say that he loves anyone. There are times when there is much love in the world and Jennings cannot bear to find it in him to speak the words because if he does, if he lets them escape, just like the stuffed animals or the orphans, he might get doubly hurt. The cruelty that he finds in the world seems to confirm his need to lock himself up into himself. Yet, Jennings is a child of firm compassion. He is rarely judgmental and often very accepting and docile to the harsh world he has been thrown into. Often he cries, but rarely retaliates. He is resourceful and a master of escapism though his ever-trusty friend Doggie and through his own mind. The young boy cannot find much solace, even at home, as conditions go from worse to hellish. Each page makes it seem like the world might fall apart for our narrator.

Although much of the depth of the story was lost to me on a childhood level, reading it again brought out much more from the pages. It's a story of love for those around you and a story of overcoming overwhelming odds. There is triumph and defeat at every paragraph. A roller coaster of pain and joy.

I got to meet Jennings Michael Burch. I was in middle school, we had finished the book, and he came to speak with us. I remember our teacher telling us to speak up and to speak clearly because Jennings, because of old age and being boxed on the ears so many times by individuals in the story, could hardly hear.

This old man came shuffling within. He was balding and in a thick sweater vest over his button down shirt. We were silent as we watched years of suffering and hardship settle into a seat the teacher provided for him. Our teacher introduced us to him and we said 'hello' in unison. He smiled slightly, lowered his eyes to a duffel bag he had with him, and opened it silently. Out of it he produced Doggie, thread-bare, discolored, but still with him, his constant companion. ...more
4

Dec 15, 2012

I can't, with this book. I literally can't.

The writing isn't perfect, and the character's voice wavers between an innocent, naive 9 year old and someone who is much, much older. It works sometimes, because someone who's been through his experiences will be older beyond his years. It just seemed at times the author was trying to include that "out of the mouth of babes, incredibly insightful" voice. However, I did appreciate that no one was really cast as the "bad guy," because everyone in his I can't, with this book. I literally can't.

The writing isn't perfect, and the character's voice wavers between an innocent, naive 9 year old and someone who is much, much older. It works sometimes, because someone who's been through his experiences will be older beyond his years. It just seemed at times the author was trying to include that "out of the mouth of babes, incredibly insightful" voice. However, I did appreciate that no one was really cast as the "bad guy," because everyone in his family was just trying to survive. Whether he recognized that on some level during his childhood or realized it later in life, it was nice to include here.

That being said, those flaws don't take away from the amazing story this book tells. It is heartbreaking to read of Jenning's history, and all you want to do is take him home and protect him. Sadly enough, although this book describes the foster system over 60 years ago, not much has changed. Children are still abandoned and crowded into institutions, and adults still take children for no other reason than the money the state offers. This story is sad, and pathetic, and makes me wonder how we can claim to live in a civilized, advanced society when we still have children who are terrified, abused, and starving every day. Luckily, the book also shows how much of a difference a single person can be in a kid's life. That person doesn't have to have any sort of special training or knowledge, they just have to be caring and open and willing to step up and take responsibility. The world needs more Sals. Aside from the basics of life, kids need love and safety more than anything else. My heart breaks for the millions of children who don't have that. Good on Jennings for overcoming an impossible situation and having the courage to talk about it. ...more
5

Jul 05, 2016

Insightful, Touching, Eye Opening, Heartbreaking & Mesmerizing! A Courageous Read! I Loved It!
5

Oct 11, 2012

They Cage the Animals at Night is the inspiring story of a young boy's childhood life. The boys name is Jennings Michael Burch. His mother gets very sick and sends Jennings and his 4 brothers into foster homes and orphanages. Follow Jennings through his childhood as he deals with poverty, sickness, and unfairness. Two of his brothers are drunks, Larry and George. His other brother, Walter, is too busy studying and doing school work, he cannot take care of Jennings. And his final brother, They Cage the Animals at Night is the inspiring story of a young boy's childhood life. The boys name is Jennings Michael Burch. His mother gets very sick and sends Jennings and his 4 brothers into foster homes and orphanages. Follow Jennings through his childhood as he deals with poverty, sickness, and unfairness. Two of his brothers are drunks, Larry and George. His other brother, Walter, is too busy studying and doing school work, he cannot take care of Jennings. And his final brother, Jerome, is very ill and is in the hospital. Jennings has no one to take care of him. So he goes in and out of orphanages and foster homes.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, inspiring, sad story but that also one has many upsides to it. I read this story because I found it interesting and I think you will too. I found this book to be a page turner, I always wanted to find out what happened next. This story made me realize how lucky I was to have a real family, it also made me realize that I don't really live a tough life at all. That's why I gave this book 5 stars out of 5. It changed the way I thought of life. ...more
5

6 February 2017

I thought I would not enjoy this book as much as I did as there are so many like it out there. However, this story struck a chord with me and I could not put it down. I even cried in parts which I don't often do.
5

30 June 2016

Omg. I cried every 20 pages. It's a beautiful story. I was hooked from beginning to end. Bravo 😍👏👐
5

24 December 2013

This is an amazing read and it WILL grab your heart and attention. Please read this book if you hadn't had a chance to.
5

Oct 05, 2010

It's a true story thats really shocking,The book They Cage The Animal At Night is a very sad and depressing book(I cried). It talks about a little boy named Jennings Michael Burch. He is a little boy who was left by his mother at an orphanage. He is 8 years old, curly red hair, white with freckles. Also while he was their at the orphanage he was being teased and laughed at by all the other boys in their. It took place mostly in a small room in the orphanage, very plain gloomy feeling , cramped It's a true story thats really shocking,The book “ They Cage The Animal At Night” is a very sad and depressing book(I cried). It talks about a little boy named Jennings Michael Burch. He is a little boy who was left by his mother at an orphanage. He is 8 years old, curly red hair, white with freckles. Also while he was their at the orphanage he was being teased and laughed at by all the other boys in their. It took place mostly in a small room in the orphanage, very plain gloomy feeling , cramped with other kids. He never spends enough time at any one of them to make a friend but clings to a stuffed animal which is his only reminder of love in the world. It is one and only book I ever read that I actually read cause of its interesting true features it had of a kid surviving on its own.

The central conflict is, I am amusing its man vs society because he was being thrown from foster homes to foster homes and nobody ever wanted him. The theme of the story is just pretty much depressing over all and somewhat is a cold gloomy feeling in some parts of the story.

I would recommend this book to first time advanced readers because it gives them the true feeling of being a surviver at such a young age. I give it 3 thumbs ways up. So all you readers out their read this book I guarantee you will like it.
...more
5

Sep 06, 2012

I absolutely love this memoir. I read it for my Honors 9 English class as a summer assignment and at first I was really bummed because I thought it would be so boring. Well, it's not. It made me realize what's important and to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life. I definitely think everyone should read it.
5

Aug 27, 2015

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is a true story about the struggles of a young boy as he is sent to various foster homes, boys' homes, and other awful places. He strength is inspirational. I like this book because it is a true story. Have some tissues ready, this book will make you cry!
5

Jan 05, 2019

I first read this in elementary school and have reread it so many times and its definitely one of my favorite books to this day. It was touching, heartbreaking, and so much more!!! The fact that its based off of a true story is shocking, but I would/and have recommended to friends.
1

Oct 23, 2017

I didn't care for the book because it is not my type of book but I do know that many other people loved this book more than I did. I know that this was based on a real life event but I like fiction books more. The story was based on Jennings Michael Burch and his child hood and what he went through. Jennings meet great life long friends and some that are not life long. Jennings family had rough edges and that caused Jennings to go into the foster care system.

The main characters in the book are I didn't care for the book because it is not my type of book but I do know that many other people loved this book more than I did. I know that this was based on a real life event but I like fiction books more. The story was based on Jennings Michael Burch and his child hood and what he went through. Jennings meet great life long friends and some that are not life long. Jennings family had rough edges and that caused Jennings to go into the foster care system.

The main characters in the book are Mark, Sal, Doggie, Jennings, and his family. Theses character are my favorite ones than the other characters. The author Jennings Michael Burch did do a good job at writing the book than other authors I have read. This book does show harsh things that happened to kids in foster care and how some places just are not for kids. ...more
5

Aug 18, 2013

I have just remembered this book right now. I remember that it was a really great inspiring book and it was just when he was a-little boy:( I know that I cried in this book.

I remember reading this book in either 8th grade or 7th and the whole grade got to meet Jennings. He looked really old with blondish grayish hair, I think, I don't remember much details but we got to ask questions and he first told us his life story when he was little.


The little boy on the cover isn't him, they used a I have just remembered this book right now. I remember that it was a really great inspiring book and it was just when he was a-little boy:( I know that I cried in this book.

I remember reading this book in either 8th grade or 7th and the whole grade got to meet Jennings. He looked really old with blondish grayish hair, I think, I don't remember much details but we got to ask questions and he first told us his life story when he was little.


The little boy on the cover isn't him, they used a different boy cause Jennings wasn't little at the time he was writing the book. But pretty much, the whole events in the book happened to Jennings, which I thought was very terrible and sad for someone to go through all that:(


I'll admit, I was happy, I got to meet Jennings, because about 7 people were picked to actually go up to him and talk before it all started, which I thought was cool, kind of like a V.I.P kind of thing. But at the same time, I was feeling sad and terrible for him because they all(the other kids mentioned in the book), didn't deserve it. Life is really not fair:(


oh yea, and he had his teddy bear with him and all 7 of us got to touch it and see it, I couldn't believe it, he had the teddy bear all these years. The teddy bear wasn't in good condition(of-course). Jennings showed the teddy bear to the crowd, but they didn't get to look at it closely or feel it, like we did, which I thought was cool, like an insider thing, cause we were the only ones that actually got to feel it. It was a really cool and sad experience^_^¥_¥ If I didn't move, I probably would have went to Dolan, and never would have went to TOR(Turn of River), read the book and meet Jennings^_^¥_¥ I have to give it 5 stars^_^¥_¥ ...more
5

Feb 27, 2010

They Cage the Animals at Night, written by Jennings Michael Burch, is one of the many abuse-related books that I have read, and this one, like the Dave Pelzer series, is one of my favorites. The first time I read this book, I was still a tween, and rereading the book now, five years later, I understand it more deeply. By understanding the main points of the book, I paid more attention to other aspects of this heart-throbbing book. For example, I explored the emotions that the protagonist, little They Cage the Animals at Night, written by Jennings Michael Burch, is one of the many abuse-related books that I have read, and this one, like the Dave Pelzer series, is one of my favorites. The first time I read this book, I was still a tween, and rereading the book now, five years later, I understand it more deeply. By understanding the main points of the book, I paid more attention to other aspects of this heart-throbbing book. For example, I explored the emotions that the protagonist, little Jennings M. Burch, has as he moves around from foster care to foster care.
Little 8 years old Jennings Michael Burch is always facing separation, which is traumatic for him since the main reason he is in foster care is due to the abandonment of his mother, Rita Catherine Hogan Burch on a rainy day in 1949. It soon becomes hard for him to Stability is a word Burch is far away from, because as a child, he never received it. As the plot drives forward, you will soon see that there is always hope, and that hope was given to Jennings from Sal.
This book consists of 300 pages, and in these pages, each consists of different mood changes that we feel along with the protagonist himself; from lonesomeness to separation and at times the urge to fly into the book and just save him from all the hurt he is going through. Throughout the book, we feel close to Jennings, being able to picture him in the dark and organized beds of the orphanage and the only company he has is his blanket.
This book would definitely become a favorite to those that take the time to read it. It is a book that I would read over countless of times, and rarely do I like to reread books. This one is worth analyzing. ...more
4

Jul 03, 2018

A touching, heartbreaking story that captivated me from start to finish. I could not stop thinking about the cast of characters that walked into and out of (and often, back into) Jennings life, especially his five brothers, his sixth brother Mark, Sal, Martha, and Stacy. This book definitely made me feel a whirlwind of emotionsits one Im sure I wont be able to get out of my head for a long timeand made me realize how many children are so alone and desperately in need of love in this world.

--

A touching, heartbreaking story that captivated me from start to finish. I could not stop thinking about the cast of characters that walked into and out of (and often, back into) Jennings’ life, especially his five brothers, his sixth ‘brother’ Mark, Sal, Martha, and Stacy. This book definitely made me feel a whirlwind of emotions–it’s one I’m sure I won’t be able to get out of my head for a long time–and made me realize how many children are so alone and desperately in need of love in this world.

--

“Doesn’t everyone who has something to give owe a little to those in need? He just needs a little time, and I have it.” ...more
5

Oct 17, 2012

I wish I could tell you why They Cage The Animals At Night popped into my head tonight, of all nights. I read this book probably 20 years ago, when I was a small child myself. I feel that I need to read this book again to perhaps gain more insight than I did as a child. But from what I do remember of the book, it's this:
Jennings was bounced in and out of orphanages & homes
At one orphanage, they had stuffed animals, but they were taken away (caged) each night
Doggie was his companion who I wish I could tell you why They Cage The Animals At Night popped into my head tonight, of all nights. I read this book probably 20 years ago, when I was a small child myself. I feel that I need to read this book again to perhaps gain more insight than I did as a child. But from what I do remember of the book, it's this:
Jennings was bounced in and out of orphanages & homes
At one orphanage, they had stuffed animals, but they were taken away (caged) each night
Doggie was his companion who was caged each night
Doggie came with him everywhere afterwards - the only one who could and did.

I remember there was sadness, darkness, and yet light at the end. I'd like to reread this book and give a truer, clearer review & opinion. If nothing else, I can offer this -

This book was able to climb out of my memories and touch me, 20 years later, and make me want to read it again. Can you honestly give a better review than that? ...more
5

Dec 09, 2019

Still my favorite book, even after all these years. Fostering from a kids perspective. It shows how important it is to be involved and to be one of the good families.
5

Feb 20, 2019

One of my favorite books! My 5th grade teacher read it aloud to my class each afternoon, and then, I had my mom buy it and read it with me at home!
5

May 07, 2008

They Cage the Animals At Night may seem to have a weird title, but it truly means something deeper. Like, A Child Called It, it is also an autobiography about a young boy named Jennings Michael Burch who had also been abused. Living in poverty with his only parent - his mother, sick, brings him to a whole new place which is the foster care. To make matters worse, not only is his mother sick, he still had about 5 other brothers who also lives with him in poverty. It affected his growth They Cage the Animals At Night may seem to have a weird title, but it truly means something deeper. Like, A Child Called It, it is also an autobiography about a young boy named Jennings Michael Burch who had also been abused. Living in poverty with his only parent - his mother, sick, brings him to a whole new place which is the foster care. To make matters worse, not only is his mother sick, he still had about 5 other brothers who also lives with him in poverty. It affected his growth tremendously because of the situations at him that led him to foster care where he was abused everyday by the nuns there. It also taught him many things; it taught him a few life lessons. One of them being, saying goodbye. When he's in the foster home, he meets many other children much like him, but he's always the one having to say goodbye because he was a temporary child there. He also had to deal with deaths of his friends and family.

When i read this book, I felt deeply painful for him because being a young boy, he shouldn't be dealing with these serious issues. He was a very brave boy being able to handle these situations. He is also a very good boy for listening and going through all these changes in his life without any complaints. I think he's one of the most unselfish people because he thought of everyone else in his family. Reading this book really changed me because it hurt to read it. He had so many things to deal with in just 6 years of age. Even through all these changes, he is still living peacefully today and told this beautiful life-changing story of his life.

Being one of my most favorite books, it will surely change your life because it did change mine. I realized how lucky i was to be who i am. He showed me many things that could happen to anyone and could be happening right now to someone. Reading this true story, it made me want to reach out to him, to be there, and to help him. It is an extremely sad story, but it's the sadness that changes us. ...more
3

Feb 11, 2019

read it - like a book

I had heard this was required reading in some schools - and boy do I feel sorry for those kids! This book was terribly depressing and it wasn't until the end that I found out this was a true story! I am not quite sure what kind of lesson you learn from this book except to thank your lucky stars you were not growing up during this time when orphanages were basically child abuse centers. Check this one off the list.
4

Feb 11, 2019

Great depiction of what its like being shuffled from place to place growing up. The treatment of the children in the homes is awful. Sometimes the language seemed a bit old for a child telling the story, but it didnt take away from the message. Great depiction of what it’s like being shuffled from place to place growing up. The treatment of the children in the homes is awful. Sometimes the language seemed a bit “old” for a child telling the story, but it didn’t take away from the message. ...more
4

Jun 04, 2013

They Cage the Animals at Night is about kids that have to move from family to family. This is an important book to read because this is a problem that a lot of kids have to go through. This book focuses on one specific kid, Jennings Michael Burch, that has to go into the foster homes system after his mom gets sick. The first time he went into a foster home he was very scared and confused; the environment of this group home is very cold and impersonal. With no caring adults or friendly kids to They Cage the Animals at Night is about kids that have to move from family to family. This is an important book to read because this is a problem that a lot of kids have to go through. This book focuses on one specific kid, Jennings Michael Burch, that has to go into the foster homes system after his mom gets sick. The first time he went into a foster home he was very scared and confused; the environment of this group home is very cold and impersonal. With no caring adults or friendly kids to help him adjust to his new “home”, he felt very alone until they opened the big “cage” of stuffed animals for the kids to sleep with at night. When this happened, he was handed a stuffed dog which he named “Doggie”; they became instant friends that night. However, Jennings got very sad the next morning because while the kids are sleeping at night they take the stuffed animals away and lock them up again. After some time in the group foster home, he eventually got “lent out.” In other words, he was sent to live with a new family for a little while. That happened a few times until his mom got better and came and picked him up. Sadly, Jennings’ mom continued to get sick , and every time she had to go to the hospital, Jennings had to go back to the foster home. Even though this book deals with some serious issues, it was a good reading selection. My favorite part of the book was either when he got to see his hospitalized brother for his first time because he had never met this brother before and they immediately became friends. Because this book helps readers really understand the struggles of others, I think any reader would enjoy this book. Everyone should give They Cage the Animals at Night a try. ...more
5

Feb 09, 2019

Love this book! It is my absolute favorite. I read it for the first time in high school and have read it twice since. Extremely inspiring!
3

Nov 03, 2013

They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch is an autobiography about the hardships the author encounters as his family undergoes social, financial and emotional struggles. The story starts with young Jennings being taken to an orphanage because his mother is sick. To make matters worse, one of his temporary monitors is Sister Frances, an irascible nun who isnt afraid to use physical contact to get her point across. Hes lost in a world filled with clickers and mealtimes until he They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch is an autobiography about the hardships the author encounters as his family undergoes social, financial and emotional struggles. The story starts with young Jennings being taken to an orphanage because his mother is sick. To make matters worse, one of his temporary monitors is Sister Frances, an irascible nun who isn’t afraid to use physical contact to get her point across. He’s lost in a world filled with clickers and mealtimes until he meets an orphan named Mark who shows him the ropes. His soul comforts are Doggie, a ratty stuffed animal, Sal, an amicable bus driver and Jerome, his sick brother as he’s sent to various locations with fluctuating conditions. How is he supposed to find his place in the world when no one wants to make room?


I’ve read this book in 5th grade thinking I wouldn’t have to reread it in 8th, I was wrong. Good thing it wasn’t a bad tale. Every book has its pros and cons. I understand why he was writing in a younger style, and it makes sense, but I found the lack of challenging language slightly dulling. Though a pro could be how easy to understand it was. When I read it in 5th grade it was a sad compelling story that brought tears to my eyes. Now it was more of me trying to memorize the facts in chronological order. I didn’t even cry at the depressing parts. After the plot is revealed, the book loses its touch. I wouldn’t recommend reading it more than one time.


~Calihottie123
...more
5

Sep 05, 2019

I read this book in my freshman year of high school, so in 2016. And this book is the first book to make me sob my eyes out. Like I definitely cried for The Outsiders, and The Giver, but no other book before this had me shaking and crying this much. This book is a memoir, and I believe it took place in the 1930s or 1940s.
It is a beautiful book about an innocent little boy whos mother isnt able to take care of him on her own at the time, so she takes him to a homeless childrens shelter, and its I read this book in my freshman year of high school, so in 2016. And this book is the first book to make me sob my eyes out. Like I definitely cried for The Outsiders, and The Giver, but no other book before this had me shaking and crying this much. This book is a memoir, and I believe it took place in the 1930s or 1940s.
It is a beautiful book about an innocent little boy who’s mother isn’t able to take care of him on her own at the time, so she takes him to a homeless children’s shelter, and it’s his story about his whole childhood, going through different shelters and homes, and sometimes the street.
He makes amazing loyal friends, and also comes across cruel people who made me so fucking mad.

Omg this is just the ultimate of sad and touching books. But you need to read it. It will have such an impact on you and make you think differently on so many things. I still think about this book all the time and how I wish I could give this author a hug. I want to go back in time to even before I existed, his childhood, and just give him the biggest hug.

I also slightly resonated with his life. So that’s probably why it touched me more. The things that happen to his mother, some have happened to mine.

But overall, this book is amazing and people need to read it. I love memoirs, and this story is so special. ...more

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result