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Patrick Touher is the author of this gripping autobiography which details his graphic childhood at the hands of the Christian Brothers during his 8 years at Artane Industrial School. The book was originally published in 2001 and then re- released with more graphic detail due to a change in the criminal proceedings which led to the book being brought out again in 2007. The story is told through the eyes of Patrick and how his world was turned upside down the day he was told he was "going to the hospital to have his tonsils removed".
The book has many themes, from friendship to extreme graphic child abuse which Patrick suffered from both mentally and physically, I would not recommend reading this book if you are easily upset as the book does contain detailed descriptions of the abuse in which Patrick and his friends suffered.
The book looks at Artane Industrial School and how the Christian Brothers treat the boys in their care, the outside public was tricked into thinking that they were doing a brilliant job when in fact the boys were beaten daily for the smallest of things and also raped by many of these so called "do-gooders."
Artane Industrial School was a place in which young boys where send from the ages of 7-16 years when their parents were unable to care for them or the boys where orphaned. In the times in which the book was set (1950s-1960s) many orphaned boys where cared for by foster parents until they reached 7 or 8, to which they then had to attend a court hearing to decide their fate, the majority of the time they were sent to Artane.
Patrick Touher left Artane with no qualifications and barely able to read or write which is why this book is so good, Patrick wrote this book by himself and is well wrote and reads well. It is great to see such a big achievement for someone who has not had the best start to life; it makes you think that anything can be possible even when the situation doesn't give the best circumstances. I think Patrick Touher is a great credit to society as he has overcome such difficult times and has made a life for himself when others would have either committed offences of a similar nature due to the fact they know no different or have ended up not achieving anything with their life. This is why I think people should take note of this book and read it as not only is it a good book but it illustrates one man's survival through the deepest of traumas.
The book overly surprised me with its graphic content but without this I don't think it would have sparked such a strong reaction within me. For days all I could think about was how on earth was this ever allowed to happen and how until recently had these monsters got away with it. It also made me wonder whether "outsiders" were either oblivious to the abuse or whether they just simply had such a blasé attitude to the fact of "out of side out of mind." I am so glad that provisions have been put into place today throughout the UK to help minimise this problem from reoccurring. The details of the abuse saddened me especially when the boys were beaten for having fun such as laughing or enjoying a bit of horse-play, no-one has the right to deny a child this especially not a person who holds themselves as a follower of God. This story really does make you think and realise that people who are thought to be trusted members of the community can be so cruel and deceptive right under your eyes, it makes you question mankind. You certainly won't forget the story after reading this. I would definitely say this book is one of the strongest of its kind. I have read many autobiographies which depict childhood abuse and neglect and this one has had the biggest impact on me by far.
I would definitely say this is a must read but again I would illustrate its graphic nature and it certainly isn't a read for the easily upset as the book really does play with your emotions and I find this really unique for me as not many books I have read have left such a lasting impression on me.