Jae-Dee is only three years old when she’s abandoned by her parents into an all-girls orphanage and raised by Catholic nuns. A curious, cheeky, intelligent, and sometimes defiant child, she’s forced to adapt to a life of abandonment, loss, and grief. In Jae-Dee Survives the Home of Many Mothers, she tells of her life experiences from the voice of her inner-child until she grows older and strong enough to express her life in a more mature and perceptively insightful manner.
A fictional story inspired by real-life events, Jae-Dee shares her feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and chronic bed-wetting that stem from her abandonment, neglect, and abuse. Jae-Dee’s parents suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse as well as financial and social poverty. But when her parents relinquish her, Jae-Dee is raised by Sister Grace, a Catholic Sister of Mercy and surrogate mother from hell, whose hatred and inability to demonstrate compassion or nurturing toward her wards is strongly depicted in her strong and sadistic character.
Jae-Dee calls attention to the effects of this childhood trauma, and she shares how she developed skills to overcome those challenges. In addition, Jae-Dee Survives the Home of Many Mothers captures the cultural history of post-war families and offers reflections of the South Australian social welfare system during the 1950s to mid-1960s.
“Jae-Dee Collier writes with searing honesty and ironic humour. Jae- Dee Survives the Home of Many Mothers takes the reader into the trauma of her early childhood experience of life at an Adelaide orphanage in the 1950s and ’60s. Vividly and skillfully told through a child’s eyes, this beautiful and tragic story of vulnerability, abuse and hope needs to be told, and everyone needs to read it.”
—Dr. Paul Williams, Program Leader,
Creative Writing, University of the Sunshine Coast