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Mari Landon has written this book which tells of the horrific childhood she had. She starts the book by saying when she was very young she lived at home with both her mother and father. She had a brother who is a year older than herself. Home life was always hard for them and their father would spend all the money on drink and at the bookies. A few years later her mother had two more children who were constantly locked in their bedroom as her father could not bare to see or hear them. At first her mother would bring the boys out when he was not at home but soon they became forgotten about and left in their room 24 hours a day.
As money got tighter and their father had less money for drink he became very violent and aggressive. Maria and her brother Terry would often be beaten and locked in the coal shed. Maria says how they never knew what would happen to them when he was drunk or in a bad mood. Eventually when money was so tight her father managed to beat her Mote up so much and talked her into going on the game. He always told Maria that she would also be on the game when she was old enough. Eventually Maria's Mother could stand it no more and she ran away leaving the children at the mercy of their father. She did ring social services to tell them of the danger the children were in and of how Their father threatened to put Maria on the game when she was old enough. Social Services did go to the house when nobody was there and found the two young boys in their bedroom so hungry they were eating the contents of their nappies. The boys were immediately removed but Terry and Maria were allowed to stay with their Father.
Maria tells how she did love her Father as at times he could be nice but he was always putting her down and telling her she as fast and useless and how nobody but him would ever love her. Terry was constantly told that it was his fault that his beloved wife, the love of his life, had left and how if the children would have been better behaved she would never have gone.
Social services would continue to visit but Marie's father was such a smooth talker he would always win them around even when Maria and terry were both caught stealing him his whisky he turned it around so they thought the children were trouble makers. Little did they know the beating the children would have gotten if they had not come back with his whisky. The children were still getting regular beatings and soon after Maria was subjected to abuse from here father in the form of sexual activities. She would be made to watch as he relieved himself in the bath with her and from then on the activities got much worse.
Maria says how her father was always kind and helpful to anyone in need as he felt he would be able to easily control them and make them feel weak. There were always prostitutes going around to their house and Maria decided there and then that she did not want to go on the game but her father had other plans for her.
Maria and Terry did get some time away from their father as he was regularly going to prison and they were both put in foster homes or children's homes but as soon as he was released Maria would always run away to be back with him. He had made her feel so worthless she would think he was the only one to love her and needed to be with him and make him happy.
As time went on Maria's father finally made the worst move ever on Maria and made her have sex with him. Soon after when he realised she was able to do this he got her ready for working on the block. He would get her nice and drunk before going out and earning his beer money. Maria tells how every time she would get into a car she would fear for her life but if she had not have done so what her father would have done to her would have been so much worse.
Eventually Maria spoke to her fathers girlfriend about what was happening and she went to the police but as there was no concrete evidence her father was allowed to get away with it. He soon had Maria back under her spell. Maria and Terry were then placed in boarding school as social services thought this would be better for them but still allowed them to visit their father at weekends and during the holidays. Maria would speak to her father on the phone and he would beg her to come home so she just ended up running away to be back with him despite the life he was making her lead.
Would Maria ever be able to get away from her father and the control he had over her and make something or her life or would she be destined to spend her life on the streets turning tricks her fathers drinking and betting money?
Well this book had me gripped from the start and it only took me two days to read. It was very hard to read in places as she tells openly about the abuse she suffered, both mentally and physically, from her father but I just wanted to keep reading to find out if she managed to get the strength to move away from him and believe she was not as worthless and unloved as she was constantly being told.
When I read how bad she suffered from him I found I was getting upset and thinking that he must have had a screw loose in his head as being a parent myself I could never imagine doing anything like that to my boys or even telling them they were unloved. I have now found myself giving them more praise and telling them how loved they are as I never want them to think otherwise.
I did find it hard to understand why Maria did keep going back to her father but I don't think I will ever really understand the power he had over her even though she has written this in such an informative way. It would have to be experienced to be fully understood.
This book should not be read by the faint hearted as it is very moving at times and the thought of her two young brother being left to die in their bedroom was so sad and bought a tear to my eye.
The way Maria expresses herself in the book adds to the emotions she is trying to put across and I think that is also a factor as to why I was hooked on it. I would have liked a bit more information on how she is doing now and how she later dealt with what she has gone through but this is not the case at the end of the book, I was left wanting just a little bit more. Despite this I found the book a fascinating read into the life of one family and how sick and repulsive a father can be.
I bought this book for £4.99 from my local Woolworths which I feel is a great price, it is also available to buy on Amazon.
The book has 292 pages. It was published by Harper Element in 2008 and was the Sunday Times Bestseller.
Recommend but not for the faint hearted.