Fatherless and pushed into care by his own mother at the age of six, Terry finds himself trapped in a cycle of horrific abuse and neglect. This is a shocking expose of the 1950s care system.
In the coming weeks and months I was further humiliated by Auntie Blodwen. The beatings were usually around the head or on the back of the legs, the arms or bare bottom. Auntie Agnes would hold me down in the office, the cloakroom, or in the cellar, while Auntie Blodwen laid into me.
I was now totally exposed to the wilfulness and madness of these adults . . .I was in care.
Terry begins life on an estate in East London known as 'The Buildings'. Rarely attending school, he wanders the streets for hours, collecting cigarette butts while his mother entertains men and sings in local pubs. But when he returns to find the 'welfare' on his door, he realises his troubles have only just begun . . .
His mother gives him up without a fight and Terry finds himself in a care home run by the tyrannical Auntie Blodwen. Terry is brutally beaten on a regular basis and shut for hours in the coal cellar. His only strength gleaned from the children who share this nightmare, and his friendship with his guardian's dog, Jenny.
Denied all the opportunities children so desperately need, Terry's story builds a picture of a bewildered and deeply troubled child who is let down time and time again by the very people he needs the most.
But this powerful memoir shows how even the most deprived child can make their own luck and eventually find happiness.
on the theme of an unhappy childhood . . . really moving. - Sud Ouest, France