On 12th February 1993, Denise's life changed forever. As she was running errands at New Strand Shopping Centre, she let go of her two-year-old son's hand to take out her purse. Denise never saw her son again. In this extraordinary and heart-wrenching book comes the unflinching account of that terrible day from James Bulger's mother, Denise. What if she had never taken James shopping? What if she had turned right coming out of the butchers, instead of left? Would she have seen her son being led out of the centre by two children? Denise's initial hope - of seeing her son on CCTV with other kids - quickly turned to devastation when, two days later, James' body was found. His murder shocked the world, as his killers became the youngest convicted murderers in the UK. Denise then took up a tortuous legal battle for James, and it was her astonishing strength and love for her son that ultimately helped to change the way the law treats victims of crime. This is a mother's tale, of finding a way through the despair to remember the happiness and wonderful memories that James brought his family. Above all, Denise doesn't want her son to be remembered as a murdered child, and with this beautifully written book she does just that.
A father-daughter story that tells of the author’s experience growing up in a separatist fundamentalist Christian cult, from the author of the national bestseller Ghostwalk
Rebecca Stott grew up in in Brighton, England, as a fourth-generation member of the Exclusive Brethren, a cult that believed the world is ruled by Satan. In this closed community, books that didn’t conform to the sect’s rules were banned, women were subservient to men and were made to dress modestly and cover their heads, and those who disobeyed the rules were punished and shamed. Yet Rebecca’s father, Roger Stott, a high-ranking Brethren minister, was a man of contradictions: he preached that the Brethren should shun the outside world, yet he kept a radio in the trunk of his car and hid copies of Yeats and Shakespeare behind the Brethren ministries. Years later, when the Stotts broke with the Brethren after a scandal involving the cult’s leader, Roger became an actor, filmmaker, and compulsive gambler who left the family penniless and ended up in jail.
A curious child, Rebecca spent her insular childhood asking questions about the world and trying to glean the answers from forbidden library books. Only when she was an adult and her father was dying of cancer did she begin to understand all that had occurred during those harrowing years. It was then that Roger Stott handed her the memoir he had begun writing about the period leading up to what he referred to as the traumatic “Nazi decade,” the years in the 1960s in which he and other Brethren leaders enforced coercive codes of behavior that led to the breaking apart of families, the shunning of members, even suicides. Now he was trying to examine that time, and his complicity in it, and he asked Rebecca to write about it, to expose all that was kept hidden.
In the Days of Rain is Rebecca Stott’s attempt to make sense of her childhood in the Exclusive Brethren, to understand her father’s role in the cult and in the breaking apart of her family, and to come to be at peace with her relationship with a larger-than-life figure whose faults were matched by a passion for life, a thirst for knowledge, and a love of literature and beauty. A father-daughter story as well as a memoir of growing up in a closed-off community and then finding a way out of it, this is an inspiring and beautiful account of the bonds of family and the power of self-invention.
Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.
She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.
As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen TAra decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.
EDUCATED is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted, from her singular experience, a universal coming-of-age story, one that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers – the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.