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Hidayah's Book Club


Please don't make me go by John Fenton

Basic plot

John Fenton's life is hard. Mostly because his father uses him and his mother as punching bags. Pushed to his limits he finally stood up to his old man, only to find himself torn away from his home and sent to a place where all young delinquents find themselves, an 'approved school'. Even the horrors of his life at home paled in comparison to what St Vincent had to offer. John Fenton endured unspeakable situations and found that surviving was an almost impossible task.

What I liked and disliked about this book

The language used in this book is very simple, and straightforward. Everything was told almost in a matter of fact way that made each unbelievably atrocious event that he suffered seemed even more horrifying. Knowing that the story is a true one left chills down my spine. It also shows how easily some kids can slip through the cracks and how easily bad things can happen. The main character comes off as so very human, with his own faults and merits, surrounded by people or more aptly, monsters, in authority. Beware of the strong language, swear words are strewn over each page. The ending was slightly too abrupt but since the main focus was his journey, the author probably did not put much emphasis on the destination. 

A quote I liked from the book

"I don't get bullied. I fight back."

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

Geno said...

I was frankly disappointed in this book. At times it came across as a rather violent boy scout camp. The mention of drives out to take part in sporting contests, ballroom dancing lessons, police being called in didn't ring true! Although it might have been for those times. It wasn’t at later dates

These kind of places usually get better as the years go by and as society allows less punishment...this approve school seems to have been the exception. I know this because I was in it 1969 - 71.

Caning was indeed rare being considered too normal a punishment, but a casual beating, regardless of the author’s assurances, continued and was an everyday occurrence!

Boys who were beaten so severely, either by staff or other boys, they needed treatment, were not taken to hospital or referred to the police but hid in a room called 10 bed until they mended. Again I know this as fact being one of those boys.

So many inconsistencies within this book and the 'gentling' down of the violence really angered me to the point I feel I need to be the voice of the boys who suffered after the author claims to have changed the violence of the brothers.
He didn’t!
There are boys out here who never got closure to the pain they experienced in this place.

This being the case I will endeavor to give us boys who still carry the physical and mental scars a chance to tell how it was just before it turned into a community home. Ill write a book that actually tells the full story of St Vincent’s and its Staff both brothers and masters.
Of how the authorities left the boys to the mercy of these degenerates. Governors meetings, police called in! Not in my day. We saw no one say those who abused us.

One of the things I did get from the book is how Brother Ambrose got his name (Nutty) If that is indeed the case. The man indeed did have mental health problems and yet he was a brother superior at this school!

The brothers mentioned I didn't know save for Bro De Montford... he was headmaster at this den of iniquity more than once, leaving to return to his place of crime. I carry a burn scar on my foot courtesy of this Christian brother, and he was not the worse there. The staff were just as given to wanton violence and molestation.

To sum up the book, the author seems to have been at the school when it was more liberal and the brothers more humane, they turned out violent and damaged boys…as for the many mention of Jesus..I am still rated a Catholic but I’d would spit in the face of Jesus for the deeds we suffered at the hands of his ‘soldiers’

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