Book review: Never to Return by Sandy Reid

Never to Return: The Harrowing True Story of a Stolen Childhood


Sandy Reid, Black & White Publishing.

ISBN 9781845022235

Written from the viewpoint of a Scottish traveller, Never to Return portrays a harrowing journey through childhood, characterised by adversity and abuse. The author describes how he entered care at a young age and how this experience isolated him from his family, his heritage, his identity and his transient way of life.

Notwithstanding the improvements within looked-after children’s services in recent times, the author’s experiences of forced cultural assimilation, racism and disenfranchisement may resound through modernity to traveller children living in public care today.

For this reason, this account may inspire any self-reflecting social worker to consider how best to promote and safeguard the cultural identity of children from travelling communities.

Never to Return is an original, subjective narrative that is able to contribute to existing knowledge. If this book were to attract the same wide readership of preceding childhood autobiographical novels, the needs and even existence of traveller children living in public care could be understood more accurately.

Dan Allen is social worker and a PhD student studying at Demontfort University, Leicester. His research is on traveller children living in public care

Review published in 23 July 2009 edition of Community Care

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