By Anne Bently
I was looking at an old blog that I used to write, but I was very hit and miss with it. But at the time I helped write a monthly newsletter for my local ME/CFS Support Group. When I was approached by the author of this book and here is my review that I published in April 2012.
When Carole Brown first got in touch with me to, tell me that she was a member of our support group, that she’d written a book and would I be interested to put a little bit about it in to our newsletter, I’m sure after she got off the phone from me that she thought I’d dismissed her, as I don’t think I was very receptive (as on that day I know that I was still waiting for my brain to wake up). The thing that sticks in my mind was the title of the book “Something the Cat Dragged in” and I remember saying ‘oh what a nice title’. Anyway we got off the phone and a couple of hours later (after a couple of mugs of strong coffee) I called her back and explained this.
Of course after a general little chat she started to tell me about the book. It had taken her 9 years to write the book; with having bad health and ME on top of this I think you’d agree that she’d managed something most of us with ME just wouldn’t be able to get our heads around. Then she told me what her book was about, well I have to say that I could have fallen through the floor, as I listened to her telling me that she had written the book about her harrowing childhood. Harrowing isn’t actually a strong enough word, as she was emotionally and physically abused by her mother and in looking for love from other members of her family found herself being sexually abused by her uncle. Below is my review of her book as I felt I had to read it before I wrote about it.
We all know how very cruel some human beings can be to one another, but to inflict such cruelty to one of your children seems so very wrong. But in the 50’s & 60’s life was very different from now: children didn’t have any say, people like teachers who are now told to take note of how the children behave and interact weren’t told to then and Child Line didn’t exist. There was just nobody to stand up and fight for them.
As you will find in the pages of this book, some children have such an awful childhood, one that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Carole is the eldest of 3 with a younger brother and sister, but for some reason, unknown even to this day, why did her mother pick her out and treated her in such a despicable way? There are so many things that happened to her but one part that really stays with me after reading the book is the following: It’s was as she said ‘I had not yet reached the ripe old age of eight’, and one of the worst winters in the North West of England, snow had fallen a few days previous but there had been no thaw and the temperature just plummeted turning the snowdrifts into solidly frozen obstacles for cars and pedestrians alike, even so she had been sent to the shop for a loaf of bread, but was unable to make it due to the adverse weather and not having the height and strength to negotiate the huge expanse of snow’. So when she went home empty handed so her punishment began. ‘Her mother was beside herself with rage, the corners of her mouth twitching with pleasure at the thought of what she was about to do.’ Her mother threw her out of the back door without her coat; she was only wearing sandals and a thin dress, and was numb and cold from trying to get to the shop. Her mother did let her in when another member of their family came to visit and she was instructed to make a cup of tea and coffee, something that she had never done before. Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan in making the drinks and after she had remade them and tidied up the mess she was thrown out in to the snow once more. This is bad enough but she was left outside for such a long time that ‘I slowly slipped into a state of frozen stupor, I don’t remember how long I was left out there, almost shivering to death, in the sub-arctic conditions, nor can I recall who, eventually, brought me indoors’, I’m surprised that she didn’t die of hyperthermia.
If you would like to read this book for yourself it can be found on www.Amazon.co.uk as an e-book under the pen name of Anne Bentley. Carole gave me permission to use her real name for this article. Carole, I think that you are a very brave and courageous woman to have written this book, as you’ll have had to relive everything that happened to you and I also know from talking to you that you didn’t get any catharsis from doing so.
A very touching and thought provoking read.
***Pages: 190. Publication Date: 30 December 2011. My Rating: ***