Top positive review
A brilliant glimpse into Victorian life...
on 29 August 2017
Street Child is a story with heart, sparkling against the grimy backdrop of Victorian London. Using her story-telling skills to perfection, Doherty transports the reader back to a time when children would rather choose a life on the street to one in the grim conditions of the workhouse.
A perfect companion to a topic on Victorians, this story truly enables the reader to feel sorry for the central character, Jim. A desire to find his sisters keeps his courage burning bright, enabling him to withstand the difficult situations that he finds himself in. Victorian London is painted vividly in the reader's mind. It's a place where the poor look out for themselves and no one else. Shrimps' mum leaping out from nowhere and stealing his money, despite never providing for him, just shows that even family turned on these children when they needed them most.
The story also addresses the difference between the rich and the poor in the Victorian era. The image of Jim dancing for the people queuing for the theatre, just to get enough money to feed himself, is one that shows this contrast well. The desire and need for food is ever present.
I felt quite emotional towards the end of the story, particularly when Jim is seeking help for Shrimps. Despite the storyline being one of poverty and despair, Doherty's introduction of Barnie gives the reader hope and relief that there's finally somewhere for the children to go.