This tale opens with the main character Buddy stealing £5 from his mothers purse(which would be bad enough nowadays but in those days it will have been an awful lot of money and i did wonder how many teenagers reading it would have thought about that).
It follows him for a short time through the turmoil of his life. Having no control over things which affect children daily but having to suffer the consequences; from teachers calling him 'dustbin man' over his uniform, to his peers tormenting him about his home life. He juggles going to school, trying to survive living with, and caring for, his dad after mum leaves them, and having no (clean, or fitting) clothing or bedding (he sleeps in an unwashed sleeping bag).
I really felt for him; the confusion of he both loved and hated his parents. Mum for leaving him in his dads care and Dad for not seeming to care, leaving him to fend for himself.
I'd like to say 'alls well, that ends well' and it does end, not well but realistically.
I applaud the author for not giving it too shiny an ending, although you are left feeling he will probably be ok in the end.