My Thoughts on the autobiography My Name is Why by poet Lemn Sissay.

At the age of 17, after a childhood in an fostered family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.  

Here Sissay recounts his life story. It is a story of neglect and determination. Misfortune and hope. Cruelty and triumph.  

Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

It doesn’t feel right to say I enjoyed reading this book, because this is a non-fiction book on Sissay’s childhood in care and

You know I read non-fiction and when I read stories on children that have grown up in the care system, it’s a broke system. We have broke systems throughout this country.

It’s a read, is what I will say. Read it. Then go read the man’s poetry too.


Want to point out, not readable electronically. There are case notes throughout the book and they are hard to read. Buy the book http://Waterstones or you can listen to it for free with an audible trial.

Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

My Thoughts on Two Non-Fiction reads

Dry by Augustin Burroughs

Published by Atlantic Books

4/5

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I think I prefer that second cover.

Dry is the story of Augustin, of his drinking which isn’t a problem, of entering rehab at the request of his employers, and then navigating life on the outside: sober. I highlighted this part – when Augustin began to realise the consequences of his drinking, demonstrated by the bottles that had piled up in his flat and on his return home, having to bag them all up. I liked that metaphoric imagery of the weight of drinking. (Looking too deeply into things again, Kate?)

Quote 

‘I feel like I drank a bottle of wine. I even feel guilty,’
‘Exactly,’ I say, relieved that he feels it too. Relieved that I am not the only one who is so unaccustomed to happiness and the feeling of impending punishment that follows.’


Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

Published by Amazon Publishing

3/5

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Coming Clean is a well written memoir, starting with stories from Kimberly’s childhood – then expanding on her family and her father: a hoarder. I liked how she wrote about hoarding realities vs the stereotypical images we have all seen depicted on televisions shows. It was a good read if you want a real, honest account on what it is like to live with and know a hoarder.


Thoughts on Footballing Memoirs by Cloughie, Taylor & Banks.

Originally published in 1980 and available now for the first time in forty years, With Clough, By Taylor is the definitive account of the partnership that revolutionised English football and the trade of the football manager.


With Clough, By Taylor

Published by Biteback
A story of the early relationship of the legendary football partnership of Clough and Taylor, their playing careers, their managerial careers, and the book caps off just as the pair were enjoying success with Nottingham Forest FC. The football club where the pair lifted numerous trophies.



Banksy

Published by Penguin
A fascinating insight into the early traditions of football, thoroughly well researched, and well written. The book gives a balanced view of life in Sheffield in the 1940s, society and its changes during the war, and how football was consumed, and reflected society as it was then, by the working class. You have to admire the dedication, and hard work that Gordon Banks put into training himself into the amazing goalkeeper that he was for Chesterfield, Leicester, Stoke and England. Gordon Banks gives us his experiences of that ‘66 World Cup win and the subsequent strange goings on during the ‘70 World Cup in Mexico. Astonishing read.


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My Thoughts on The Girl in the Dark by Angela Hart. Start from the end.

Melissa is a sweet-natured girl with a disturbing habit of running away and mixing with the wrong crowd. After she’s picked up by the police, and with nowhere else to go, she is locked in a secure unit with young offenders. Social Services beg specialist foster carer Angela to take her in, but can she keep the testing twelve-year-old safe? And will Angela ever learn what, or who, drove Melissa to run and hide, sometimes in the dead of night?


The Girl in the Dark by Angela Hart Published by Bluebird
You really need to read the end of this book before you begin from the start, as you never really know why Melissa, put into the care of foster carer Angela and husband Jonathan, is running away and going missing for weeks at a time until you read the final pages and learn of Angela’s suspicions and theory of why. Then you find little clues through the book and can see the evidence of what might have been happening to Melissa during her time in the care of Angela. Another great read from Angela Hart.


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Am i ugly? by Michelle Elman

I love love love this book. I wasn’t hooked by the cover of the book but when I read the blurb and looked up Michelle on Instagram @scarrednotscared (she seems super awesome) I was persuaded to read the book. I am glad I did.

It also has in the end pages suggestions of other body positive books, which I will be looking out for (there goes my TBR again)


I follow quite a few people now on Instagram that call out diet culture and whatnot and it really is revolutionary.

Like the numbers on your clothes labels, diets, counting calories, VBO, fat shaming? NONE OF THAT CONTRIBUTES TO WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. It is all a load of bollocks.

Yet we grow up believing this bollocks. It’s crazy how I used to think if I couldn’t fit into a size ten pair of jeans I thought I was fat and ugly. I would be miserable for days after. I even stopped silly dancing to crap pop music in my bedroom because I started to feel so self -conscious about the weight I was gaining a few years ago.

We’re a world obsessed with shrinking. WTF?


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