* Prices may differ from that shown
This is a review of the 2006 book 'Street Kid' by Judy Westwater. It's a true account of her sadly neglectful childhood and about how she is abducted by her father to live in South Africa. Born in 1945 Judy retells her story and how she was let down by Social Services and any adult with a pair of eyes.
A little about the book
This is another 'abuse' book but at no point does Judy feel sorry for herself. She retells how at the age of 4 she was left in the yard regardless of the weather and told not to move. She had to go rifling through bins to find something to eat and lives with her father and his horrible girlfriend who both mistreat her and give regular beatings. When Judy is 12 her father (a spiritualist con man) dresses her as a boy and takes her to live in South Africa without seeking her mother's permission. Life is no better for Judy in South Africa as she finds herself homeless, living rough and eventually she seeks solace by running away to join the circus (yes, that old cliché!) but her respite is not long lived when her father finds her and drags her back to the place Judy loosely terms home.
I'm not a particular fan of these stories of abuse as they are hard to swallow at times and you feel real pity for the author as they retell their difficult past. It's unbelievable that any adult could witness the abuse and trauma that Judy went through without intervening or trying to help. Anyone could see she was dirty, abused and battered, often wandering around bleeding from the beatings she received from her father and stepmother. The fact that Judy was hospitalised due to her injuries should have been enough but sadly she was left in the care of this terrible man and her real mother did little to intervene.
Judy's story was discovered by the legendary John Peel who brought her story to light after Judy was interviewed by him on the BBC's 'Home Truths' show. He predicted that Judy's story would become a book and a film.
Her work continues
I've since found out that in 1994 Judy was presented with an Unsung Heroes Award for her charity work with street children in South Africa. Her moving story came to light after Judy was interviewed by John Peel on BBC's 'Home Truths'.
You can buy this book on Amazon at a used price of £1.30 or £5.59 for a new one. I'd say it's worth buying and reading but it could be upsetting to read so bear that in mind. My copy is on readitswapit if anyone fancies a swap.
I enjoyed reading this book if you can call witnessing the horror's of a mistreated youth 'enjoyment'. Judy comes across as a sensible and level headed character who touches the hearts of a few but they seem unable to help her beyond some temporary comfort. Her immediate family are all uncaring towards her and she is truly alone at times. Hers is a tale of true survival and she is to be admired for her ongoing positive attitude and determination to succeed.