Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Street Kid by Judy Westwater

At age two, in postwar Manchester, Judy was snatched from her mother and sisters by her psychotic father - a spiritualist preacher. He kept her in his backyard, leaving her to scavenge from bins to beat off starvation. At four, she was sent to an inhumanely strict catholic orphanage, before being put back in her father's cruel care.

For the next three years, she was treated as a virtual slave. After being taken by her father to South Africa, Judy ran away to join the circus where she found her first taste of freedom and friendship - before her father tracked her down. Weeks later, Judy was alone again and living on the streets, too terrified to turn to her circus friends. For 9 months, 12-year-old Judy made her home in a shed behind a bottle store before collapsing in a shop doorway from near-starvation. Finally, aged 17, Judy managed to pay her way back to England to find her mother and sisters. But, her return to Manchester cruelly shattered any dreams of a happy reunion. Determined that her childhood experiences should in some way give meaning to her life, Judy has worked tirelessly to help children in need back in South Africa in the very place she had been treated to such abuse herself. She has opened 7 centres to date.

Oh. My. Word. The lives some people have survived just amazes me. I don't know if I'd have the strength. The things this girl lived thru during her childhood are just horrific! More than that I just cannot say. She went on and on, surviving. It's an inspirational story by the end when she triumphs over her past.

I must say tho, that reading what she went thru as a kid, almost stopped me reading this book midway!

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