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Being an avid reader of thrillers, detective stories and generally grisly murder books, I have recently come to guess more an more 'who done it' and decided to stray from my usual type of book and try something different. Seeing this on my 'to read' bookshelf at home and having no idea where it had come from, I decided to give it a try before someone asked for it back before having had the chance to give it a go.
Religiously reading every night before bed, it wasn't long before I was a good 100 pages into the book and still trying to make my mind up about it. Being a mother of two small girls, I tend to stay away from this kind of book that seems to have become popular over recent years, with the story of child neglect or abuse just too easy for me to put the faces of my two beautiful girls faces on. However with this story, I instantly warmed to the character of Alex or Franky as he later comes to be known. His story captivated me from the very beginning and I became quite distressed at times imagining the horrific conditions that some unfortunate children have to go through in their lives. With this book, the general plot is of a young, seemingly unloving mother to three: Alex and his two younger twin sisters, and after one too many 'accident' they are forcibly removed from their mothers care. Given that the children are only extremely young, they are offered for adoption and while Alex's two sisters are both found seperate homes with loving new parents, Alex is not so lucky and is forced into the hands of a new dad with a twisted take on fatherhood while his meek wife is unable to stop him. Alex never gives up and constantly strives for love and strangely sits by the window at every opportunity waiting for his mother to return and collect him. Alex goes from scenario to scenario unwilling to let anyone get emotionally close to him all the while the care system seems to do everything in its power to make his life miserable and unbearable (all be it unintentionally).
This book really does pull on your heartstrings, even more so when over the years, the story flits from Alex's story to the story of his two sisters who have everything that Alex doesn't, even if all he wants is to be loved. Alex calls himself the boy from nowhere and I really struggled to comprehend how one small child can go through life feeling so unloved. The book really opened up my eyes to the care system even if it was fictional. At times the book is touching, with the smallest gestures meaning the world to young Alex, and at other times is harrowing how one small child can be abused both mentally and physically in such ways. The story follows Alex into adulthood, where he finds himself homeless in London, in a dangerous world that offers him a living in the only way he knows.
As this is the first book of its kind that I have read, I haven't previously come across its author before, however after finishing the book (in a short space of time), I was eager to see what else the author Rosie Goodwin had to offer and googled her. As I have stuck to the same genre of books for many years, it seems I have overlooked Rosie as an author who has written quite a number of books since she was first published in 2004, and has been likened to Catherine Cookson for some of her classic sagas. However she also appears to have written more contemporary novels, and while they do have different stories, they all verge on the same lines as The boy from nowhere. It didn't suprise me to learn that Rosie was a foster carer and support worker becoming becoming published and it certainly adds to the credibility of this fictional story. I will definately be looking out for Rosie's books when I next make a trip to the bookshop and can't wait to see what else she has to offer.
Rosies style of writing is easy to follow and kept me gripped from chapter to chapter. There are several cliff hanger moments when the story then goes to a different character and you literally have to keep reading until you get back to the character (mostly Alex) with whom the cliff hanger was left with. There certainly didn't seem to be any 'filling' in the story and while being descriptive of people and situations, didn't drag on too long.
Recommended if you can read through the heartache.