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This Boy (Paperback)
  • This Boy (Paperback)
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Paperback Published: 27/02/2014
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Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of post-war Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all...This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child. Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity in pre-gentrified Notting Hill, through the race riots, school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, to the rock-and-roll years, making a record in Denmark Street and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens. This Boy is one man's story, but it is also a story of England and the West London slums which are so hard to imagine in the capital today. No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries.

Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9780552167017

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“This Boy”

I will admit that I don't read a lot of non-fiction, I am a fiction girl. But I did really enjoy this book set in a slum area of London in the 50' s and 60's. It gives a great picture of what life was... More

8th April 2014
Helpful? Upvote 4


I enjoyed this book immensely. Moving but funny, very well written. Looking forward to his next book.

18th June 2014
Helpful? Upvote 2

“I love this, it is excellent!”

Not having read books for pleasure for some years I must say that I loved this book. Having just read three of George Orwell's books [1984, Animal Farm & A Clergyman's Daughter] in very quick succession,... More

31st July 2014
Helpful? Upvote 7

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