The Looked After Kid

By Paolo Hewitt.
Mainstream Publishing
IBSN 1 84018 582 1

Paolo Hewitt, now a successful author and music journalist,
exorcises his memories of growing up in care in the 1960s and
1970s. Relating his story exposes the fragmentation of his past and
the ominous infant memories inform adolescent behaviour, which
preview his adult attitudes.

Childhood recollections and fantasies are scrutinised by his adult
perception, ensuring we have a humorous, entertaining book,
populated by memorable characters, which never dwells on anger or
melancholy. The vivid events, the obsession with music and his
yearning to be George Best at times makes all seem idyllic. Passing
references to the systematic physical abuse from Mrs K, his foster
mother, who was abused and is now compelled to share her legacy,
dispel this notion.

His frustration centres on the number of years it takes him to be
called by his real name, his alienation from his family and the
stigmatising nature of residential care. The case for the
provisions of the Children Act 1989 is made powerfully.

This is an inspirational book, for the professional who wants to
understand what it is to be a “looked-after kid” or for adolescents
in care who “go to sleep at night believing the world to be a dark
and terrible place”.

David Owen is senior personnel officer, Luton

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.