THIS BOY: A Memoir of a Childhood – ALAN JOHNSON

Alan Johnson

alanstandingandsmilingcolour-BWAlan Johnson’s childhood was not only difficult but unusual, particularly for a man destined to become Home Secretary.  Less in respect of the experience of poverty, shared with so many 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: His 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 and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was but 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.

220px-Alan_Johnson_-9Oct2007-2No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes without btterness,  with a generous acceptance, humour and openness which makes his book anything but the grim catalogue of miseries it might otherwise have been.

Alan Johnson was Home Secretary in 2009/10 and held a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown Governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary.  Until January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer..

Event Chaired by former Government Minister, the Rt. Hon. Brian Wilson

Alan Johnson on Wikipedia

Interview with The Guardian

Interview with The Daily Telegraph

Book review from The Guardian

Book review from The Independent

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