The Street is a book written by the author Kay Brellend.
Kay Brellend has written sixteen historical novels published in England and North America, but this is her first novel set in the 20th century and it was inspired by her grandmother and her early life in Campbell Road, Islington.
The story starts off with the life of the Keiver family in 1913. From the very beginning of this book we are told about the way of life for Tilly Keiver and her children. Alice is there in the very first chapter and continues to be the main character through the whole book. Alice is the second of four children, Sophy is the elder sister, Bethany is around 8 years and baby Lucy is just 7 months. Alice is nearly 13.
Jack Keiver, the girls father and Tilly's husband works day and night to provide for his family, he goes from job to job in the hope of a better life for them but his hopes are dashed by a drunken Tilly who raids the money jar to go to the pub. Tilly herself, does work, all odd jobs but brings home the bare minimum in the way of wages.
She can't wait for the girls to grow old enough to get a job.
They live in a house on the top floor, below them Tilly's sister Fran lives with her abusive husband Jimmy and their 2 sons. Tilly has lost count of the bruises she has seen on her sister and is praying for the day she will come to her senses and leave him for good, but she always ends up taking him back. Things need to change and it needs to be a drastic change in order for Fran to get her life back!
During the story the War begins and people are joining up to fight for their country. Jack joins up and Alice awaits his letters, her best friend also joined the army and she writes to him and her dad, wondering if they have met up with each other yet?
The women of Campbell Road dread to see the messenger boy coming on his bike and pray that the news isn't for them.
Sophy get's herself into some trouble and even though it straightens itself out in the end, she decides she has had enough of living in 'the Bunk' and want's a better life so decides to leave with her boyfriend, Alice is then left to work and raise the kids whilst Tilly is out getting drunk or helping her sister after another beating off Jimmy.
Through the book we get to see how life was back in the early days of the twentieth century and the comparrison to how we live today is completely different. The Keiver's were a poor family and Jack was the backbone to the family whereas Tilly was a drunk who could be abusive, but we do see a softer side to her on rare occasions. Jack is loved very much by his daughter and the fondness can be seen though how she speaks about him.
Although a fictional book it is based on the authors grandmothers memory of life back then and there are also photographs in the back which show who the characters are based on.
It's a good book the type you don't want to put down, it's got an easy pace to it and can easily be picked up from where you left it. The way the story is told pretty much by the character makes it more believable and sometimes it's easy to forget that this is infact a fictional book.
I really enjoyed it and it is worth the £7.99 RRP, although I only paid 20p in a charity shop! The book was published in 2011.