Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book Review: Losing The Hate by Simon Palmer

As an author who writes for children, I have to state: 
This review and the book are not suitable for children.

Recently I have only read books by people I have got to know online. This wasn't a conscious decision, it was just that I was interested in reading books by so many of my online friends that I didn't have time to select anything else.

This morning, however, I checked my 'followers' list on Twitter and discovered a new follower, @Syepal.  I clicked to look at his profile, as I always do with new followers, to see if I want to follow them back. I clicked on to his website and what I read there made me download his book to my iPod Touch, and read it on the Kindle app this afternoon while my children were scampering around a soft play centre.

Losing The Hate is a powerful memoir of child abuse, from the point of view of the victim.

This book is a painful reminder that there are people in the world who should not be trusted, some of them even in positions which they should not be allowed to be in. It had me reading on while at the same time hoping that the inevitable wasn't going to happen.

It seems that the author is not writing to gain any sort of sympathy; on the contrary, he even questions whether his less-than-perfect behaviour as an adult can be attributed to his treatment as a child. The book is, however, a powerful lesson to readers, that you can never be certain about people, and you should always be on your guard.

I used to work in the council offices, where I read reports about children treated in ways similar to how this author was treated. These children who have had reports written and cases discussed, have had someone to talk to about all of these events. This memoir, on the other hand, feels like the author is telling you personally about his experiences. It's a raw and frank tale, and one that left me feeling incredibly sad, and more than  little angry.

From a reader's point of view, the book is hard to read as far as the subject matter is concerned and yet I was unable to stop reading. The writing is incredibly good, with detailed descriptions of some very personal and terrifying events. The book also contains poetry that shows so much emotion it could only have been written by someone in such a situation.

The author repeatedly states that he regrets the perpetrators of the events in the book may have been able to shatter other young lives. By writing this book, it is possible that he will raise awareness of situations that some may not even imagine possible, and prevent cases like this happening in the future.

I have no idea how the author managed to write all of these experiences out, but I sincerely hope that it has helped him in some way.

You can download this book to your Kindle now, via Amazon. The paperback is to follow.