A memoir in the tradition of Lorna Sage's Bad Blood and Blake Morrison's When Did You Last See your Father?
John Sutherland's childhood ended abruptly the day his father was killed at the beginning of World War Two - happily before he could kill any Germans. John's widowed mother fell in love with a new man and decamped to Argentina, leaving John to be looked after by various relatives - some more suited to raising children than others. It was an odd, unsettled childhood and John took refuge in books. He quickly learned how to fit in without disturbing people, and, in doing so, began to store up resentments as a child. These resentments, with the trigger of alcohol in later life, would one day explode - serially and for many years.
The Boy Who Loved Books is an account of a disrupted childhood, but it is also an account of one man's often desperate love affair with reading matter. Books in many ways changed his life, propelling him to university, and sustaining him in the dark times that were to come. It is also a record of the shifting twentieth century and the profound changes that shook society and its ways of dealing with children in the institutions of family, school and university.