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Just a Boy: The True Story of a Stolen Childhood [Hardcover]

Richard McCann
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 July 2004
This is the story of a boy called Richard. One October night in 1975, Richard, aged five, was alone in the house with his three sisters. It was 3am and their mother hadn't come home yet. He and his oldest sister pulled on their coats over their pyjamas and set off through the foggy streets hand in hand to find her. But at dawn they returned home alone. Within a few hours the police arrived and took the children away. They gave them mugs of hot chocolate and then said, 'you won't be seeing your mother again.' She was the first victim of the serial killer who to become known as the 'Yorkshire Ripper' and from that moment on Richard and his sisters' childhoods were destroyed. Passed from one violent home to another, subject to physical and mental abuse, the children were forgotten by all except the press. As the killer claimed one victim after the other, and the salacious magazines and headlines multiplied, Richard and his sisters were never able to grieve or recover from the agonising tragedy of their mother's murder. Whilst Richard tried to handle the terror and shame of his violent and deprived upbringing, his sister struggled to deal with memories of the serious sexual abuse she had suffered. Without love or support, they floundered through their teens from drink to drugs to crime. Until one day in the late Nineties when Richard McCann, having reached suicidal rock bottom, decided that no one was going to rescue their lives but him. That no one could solve the past and only he could remedy the future. It was the beginning of an inspirational transformation that saw Richard rebuild his life. Now he is able to tell the story of how the forgotten children of violence suffer, and how they can heal. This is a heartbreaking, up-lifting story of survival and hope.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (15 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091898218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091898212
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 717,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Harrowing" (The Sun)

"Heart-rending" (Woman's Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The paperback of The Sunday Times bestseller which spent seven weeks at No 5 - a heartbreaking but inspirational story of a childhood destroyed --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just A Boy - Incredibly Powerful 26 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
There are so many books being published nowadays about victims of murder, violence and abuse; many of which are often written very badly and for the wrong reasons. This book "Just A Boy" is totally different and written for all the right reasons. It has many positive messages for any reader.
Richard McCann's mother, Wilma, was murdered by the Yorkshire Ripper in 1975. Many people will remember those awful years when headlines were in the media everyday about the victims of Sutcliffe. But I wonder how many people have given any real thought about how the deaths of those victims affected their families? McCann's book gives a clear insight into how the media and social systems further abuse these innocent victims.
McCann's style of writing is very moving; it is not complex - it is straight to the point and hits the reader with a huge impact. I have spent 25 years working with both children and adults who have experienced abuse and can assure readers that this book truly reflects the world of victims of abuse. The book is honest, powerful and emotive; yet is it not sensationalised in any way - it is a true account.
McCann starts the book from the morning his mother did not come home. He then takes the reader through his childhood, where he and his siblings experienced extreme forms of physical and emotional abuse. His younger adulthood was also filled with trauma and torment BUT McCann is an incredibly determined person who survives and makes a success of his life. He starts to find some fulfilment.
What I love about this book is that it will educate all sorts of people. It will help victims of abuse who currently feel despondent or anyone who has been bereaved; it will give them hope and demonstrates that survival is achievable.
Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart -wrenching 28 April 2006
Format:Paperback
Richards book is absolutely amazing! Both Richard and his sister Sonia had a terrible shock when they woke to find their mother had not come home, and then to find out that she'd been murdered by the Yorkshire ripper. Yet somehow they both survive but not before a long and arduous life. Richard suffers beatings on a regular basis at the hands of his alcoholic father, and later to add insult to injury he is told when they are adults that his sister Sonia has been sexually abused by their father. Richard made some terrible decisions in life, but I could understand fully why he'd done so after reading the first half of the book. This book gives the reader a fantastic insight into the lives of what Richard describes as 'the forgotten children of violence' Children that have a pain that can never heal when they have lost a parent to such violence. A must read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT READ 30 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is an excellent read and written with such passion.

As Richard's Mum was murdered by the Yorkshire Ripper the subject matter is disturbing but it is told from a child's point of view and gives us a valuable insight into how the family coped in the aftermath.

I have actually heard Richard speak publically about his life and he truly is an inspiration to all ages.

GOOD LUCK IH THE FUTURE RICHARD

RECOMMENDED.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Thoughtfully written, this true account of a young boy, just five years old, who loses his mother to the murderous "Yorkshire Ripper", is an emotional yet uplifting read.
In telling his story, Richard takes us from the innocent world of a child, through the grief of a terrible, unjust loss. As if that were not enough, the boy loses the rest of his childhood to savage domestic violence. When he is old enough to escape, he shares with us the rocky start to his adult life and the indomitable strength and determination he shows as he decides that he will survive and make good come of the evil he has experienced and lived through.
A rivetting, moving read from a talented writer who is brave enough to let the reader into his life and share experiences that will take you on a journey to desparing depths - and back again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just a boy 14 Mar 2005
Format:Paperback
Amazing it just proves that what ever life throws at you you can com back better and stronger. Anyone who thinks Peter Sutcliffe should be released read this book and think again, good luck to you Richard
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent First Book 14 July 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Once I started to read Just a Boy, I could not put it down. The pain and suffering this family endured is unimaginable, sometimes heart wrenching. One often hears about tragic events in the daily news but who ever really stops to think how those families ever manage to survive then, and in the years that follow.
I found the book to be a most honest and frank story. It emerges from thirty years of locked up emotion to reveal a unique story. It is written with such vivid detail that its hard to believe those memories could be recalled from such a young age. Obviously they have stayed raw for a very long time. I could almost sense the relief that the author feels, now his experiences are out in the open. This is a true story which will stay with me, even though the book is now back on its shelf, and I would recommend anyone to read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just A Boy 28 Aug 2005
Format:Paperback
This book is the most inspirational that I have ever read! I completed it in two days!! It is the most amazing story of human triumph and of how things can be turned around to help your self and others! it is a must for anyone who has lived through similar circumstances! Thank you for sharing your story!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended
bought for my son after a visit to school by the author - he's not an avid reader but he read this start to finish
Published 11 days ago by K. Horwill
4.0 out of 5 stars book
I bought this book for my dad, second hand was perfect and being passed round my family interesting story, graeat healing.
Published 24 days ago by Susanne O'Dwyer
3.0 out of 5 stars Just A Book
This is a decent enough read but I thought it lacked a little depth. It is of course the biography of the Son of the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Spud
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his talk
I had heard a transcript of an inspirational talk he gave. I thought the book was not as good as the actual talk.
Published 4 months ago by Pengo
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Richard spoke to a group of young people I work with and the feedback was great! Couldn't go myself and wanted to know more. Found his book and read it within a day! Read more
Published 5 months ago by sally bringhurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant
Have listened to Richard give a move talk to some school children, I decided to purchase his book. It is a harrowing tale of a boy who has to go through things that no child... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Susan Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I liked the way this book was written as if the author was talking to you himself about his experiences over a cuppa. Intriguing and emotionally.
Published 11 months ago by DB
4.0 out of 5 stars Just A Boy
This is the untold story of one families life ruined after their mother became the first victim of the infamous Yorkshire Ripper. Read more
Published 11 months ago by T. J. Day
5.0 out of 5 stars sad
I was at a charity launch & Mr McCann was the speaker. He spoke about his childhood witha feckless father & a mother who was the Peter Sutcliffes first known victim he has done... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alona
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating!
This book had me gripped from the first page. Even when things seemed to be getting better in his life, another trauma would happen leaving me unable to put the book down. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs A Talbot
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