By Richard Gallear
Published by Harper Collins ISBN 978-0-00-832076-8
Reviewed by: Sue Flint

A client walks through your counselling room door and you know very little of the reason they seek your help.  They may have told you the purpose of their enquiry but, as all experienced counsellors come to realise, there is always so much more to their story than the information they reveal at the assessment/initial session.

There are, perhaps, subjects you do not cover in your practice for your own personal reasons or safe practice, so if physical abuse is NOT an area you are able to counsel then this book is not for you.

The memoir details abandonment, abuse – both mentally and physically and the failings of professionals and society in the 1950/60’s.  You will sense the fear, feel the anger, and if you may feel protective towards the writer.  His childhood memories are bleak, dotted only slightly with happy school days, enjoying his food, being outdoors watching plants grow or playing with friends.

Left on the edge of a Birmingham canal on a cold November evening in 1954, a new born baby is wrapped in newspaper hours from death is found by a passing postman.  He spent his first years in a lovely environment where he was cared for, fed well, encouraged and nurtured.  Then he was fostered/adopted by a well thought of Salvation Army man and his wife.  The next 12 years of his life were horrendous.

In this real life story you will learn about human resilience, perseverance, initiative, survival techniques and determination to escape the situation and later find the truth of his beginnings.

I recommend this book for Continuing Professional Development – particularly to new counsellors who may not have yet encountered clients who present such issues.

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