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My Name Is Angel: A Traumatic True Story of Escaping the Streets and Building a New Life Paperback – 9 Aug 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; UK ed. edition (9 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753512386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753512388
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.6 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

One woman's story of prostitution, drugs and finding the courage to escape

From the Back Cover

One woman's story of escape from drug addiction, prostitution and abuse to a new life

Raised by a bohemian mother in a succession of squats and communes, Rhea Coombs never felt she truly belonged anywhere. Her feeling of isolation only intensified in her teens when she became involved in drugs and prostitution. Then, at just sixteen, Rhea found herself pregnant and fled to London to escape her abusive partner. Within a few years she was using crack heavily and was forced to give up her children.

With her children gone, Rhea became trapped in a world of drugs and prostitution, finally ending up running a crack house. Through it all she never stopped loving her children. This is the shocking yet moving story of how Rhea survived in the underworld and escaped to rebuild her life, regain custody of her children, and begin to help others.

Rhea Coombs has stopped using drugs and selling sex, and now works for a church-based charity in London that helps disadvantaged people, including women involved in prostitution. Rhea's son is sixteen, and her daughter is nine years old.

Diane Taylor is a freelance journalist living in London. This is her second book.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. One of the best autobiographies I have read all year. Beautifully written, fast paced and easy to follow - a real page turner.

This book deals with crack and heroin addiction and Rhea Coombs does not hide the true facts at how terrible and soul destroying an addict's life is. Rhea was not only an adict but a dealer as well and you can imagine the kind of people she dealt with. Rhea does not hide the fact that she turned to prostitution to pay for her drug habit and her memories of this time are truly heartbreaking. You feel genuine sorrow for the author when she describes the time she ran away from a relative's car and hid in the bushes when she realised her son was sitting in the back, she couldn't bear her son to see her in such a state.

Rhea should be applauded for her strength of character and sheer determination in tackling her withdrawal of drugs, She succeeded where many fail.

AWESOME!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. I was lured due to the fact the author is from the same area as me and ive probably seen her before. Great product, quick deliverly, would recommend product and purchase from seller again
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Format: Hardcover
Rhea Coombs' story is an honest and real account of life as a street sex worker. Rhea describes her disrupted childhood and the craving for love and acceptance which led her into exploitative relationships with violent and abusive men. The story then starts to focus on her drug addiction and experiences of prostitution. Rhea exposes holes in a system, which by criminalizing street prostitution, just pushes those who are most vulnerable underground. Luckliy she had the strength to move away from this world and is now an accomplished women's worker in her own right, assisting the very women she used to sex work alongside.

Throughout the book I found Rhea to be incredibly fair and gracious towards others involved in her life, something you don't often encounter in books of this nature. She takes responsibility for her actions and does not allocate blame; even to those who consistently let her down and sometimes abused her in the most terrible ways.

The book is well written, brave, interesting and ultimately inspiring. It will be enjoyed by fans of gritty, true life stories but should also be read by drugs workers, social workers, magistrates, court officials, politicians, those studying women's issues and anyone else who may come into contact with women involved in street based prostitution.
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Format: Paperback
There are many lessons to be learned in the extraordinary book, I feel its honesty highlight the traps of addictions and violent relatioships that draw people in again and again. I think, if done well, it would make an amazing teenage television drama series. The only trouble is, it's so harrowing in places, would you really want to expose teenagers to the fact that some peoles lives can be so wretched at times. Quite amazing, I can't recommend it highly enough, although it did make me very angry at times to see how humans can treat one another.
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Format: Paperback
I agree Niki Tapp's review. A moving and thought provoking book. Helps you understand the mindset of drug addicts. I am glad Rhea finally sorted her life out.
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Format: Paperback
This is basicly the life of a drug addict,one that refused help for many years.
This is certainly intersting enough to read in that it's well written,but a lot of it made me feel annoyed with her for doing this to herself.
Her childhood,though not ideal,wasn't the worst of upbringings,it was just very unappealing,her mother was basicly a single mother and commune loving hippy.
She certainly wasn't the victim of child abuse,but growing up she became a victim of herslelf.
Getting a taste of drugs from an early age,she decides she likes them and goes on to try harder and harder ones.
After becoming a mother,she keeps taking drugs,but i won't deny she shows plenty of love to her kids,the ones she insists come first,but somehow drugs seem to be more important.
One thing that did wind me up was when she was looking for a better life (one of several times),she receieves a payout for an accident involving a car,we're talking many thousands,this was soon spent on drugs which she gives away. Sorry to sound so harsh,but that was stupid beyond stupid,just shoving away a better life at a time she wanted it,madness!
She goes from man to man,some nice,some not. She takes up prostitution to feed her worstening habbit and puts trust in clearly the wrong people.
She gives up her kids to give them a better life,knowing one day she'll be ready to be a proper mother. This was a move i respect,but my heart went out to the kids who's mother chose drugs over them.
Don't get me wrong,i'm not laying into this woman,i just can't show too much sympathy for someone who did all this to herself. I get the desperaion for a change of life that led to daft decissions,which led to an unwise lifestyle. But all this kept in mind,how many chances does one person need?
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Format: Hardcover
Some of you may remember a book named 'Go Ask Alice', the diary of a teenage girl growing up in the 1960's, and her descent into a life of drugs and promiscuity. That was a grim read, but even that pales next to this, the life story of a woman who was addicted to Heroin and Crack, and worked as a prostitute in order to fund these addictions.

Angel's depression began in childhood, yet her childhood was not unpleasant, but unconventional. Her hippy mother would move from pillar to post, taking Angel with her. During these times, Angel would be exposed to 'soft' drugs such as Cannabis, and a couple of hallucinogens, but no addictive ones.

It was around the time of going to high school that Angel began smoking Cannabis heavily, and at the age of only fourteen, became involved with a man who encouraged her to prostitute herself, which she then did.

A very rapid downward slide follows; as the reader travels with Angel through some of the most horrifying experiences and hopelessness one could possibly imagine. Several destructive relationships are described, along with the birth of her son, and a relationship with a man who endangers the life of her son in unspeakably violent ways. At which point I felt two things towards Angel: firstly anger, that any woman could tolerate anyone harming their child in such a disgraceful way, and secondly, incredible sympathy, that any Mother should have to stand and watch their own son being physically abused.

Angel eventually flees from this relationship, has a daughter, and eventually befriends a crack addict who introduces her to crack. Angel becomes a Crack addict, and decides to hand the children over to their father and Grandmother, since she fears letting her children down.
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