By Andrew Butcher.
ISBN 0 9523977 0 6
For some people, childhood never seems to happen. It passes them
by on a miserable wave of half-comprehended events, violence, fear
and always an overwhelming despair at being unloved. Andrew
unremittingly describes such a process.
Writing for him is clearly a kind of catharsis, in which he
recalls his earliest memories of a children’s home, his destructive
father who was left by a wife no longer able to tolerate the
violence and of a step-mother who tried hard to give him those
experiences children should expect as their birth right.
Throughout Beastly Beauty, Andrew is moving on: whether this is
between home and residential care or psychiatric units and
adolescent hospitals. Rejection leads to crime, and violence to a
mental health label and all the time he prays for consistency and
A whole range of agencies try to help but it is Andrew’s own
resilience and the Grassroots City Centre Youth Project that
finally helps him to turn a number of broken pieces back into a
This is a courageous book which deserves to be read widely by
all those wishing to understand a little of how childhood
experiences are inescapable.
Chris Hanvey director, Thomas Coram Foundation for