Sandy's book portrays only too clearly how Scotland regarded her indigenous Travelling People. Tearing children from their mothers' arms and losing them forever in the Welfare system with no contact whatsoever with their families. Taking them to a life where they were treated at best with total apathy and at worst with mental, physical and sexual abuse. And this was considered better for the child than being with his family? I don't think so! A heart breaking tale told beautifully. Well done Sandy! Mary
Sandy's courageous story makes essential reading for anyone who either works with 'looked after children' or who has experience of being 'looked after'. Sandy provides a graphic picture of how important continued sibling / family contact (providing it is safe to do so) is for all children who have been removed from their parents, how crucial it is that those who have responsibility for 'looked after' children actually listen to them and see them as 'children in need' not simply as a 'case', and that how vulnerable children are when they are living in the 'system'. Above all, Sandy reminds us that despite all the talk and aspirations of a profession wanting to value diversity and embrace different lifestyles, frequently social work practice has been guilty of imposing dominant family values on those families which have a long tradition of being different, in his case 'Scottish Tinkers'.
This isn't the sort of book that I usually read. More known for reading anything by, amongst others, Stephen King, James Patterson and Tom Clancy, I saw this book on an e-mailed list of Kindle books that Amazon thought I might be interested in. At first I went straight past it and looked at others, but then later that day saw that I still had the e-mail in my inbox as I had forgotten to delete it.
This time I looked a bit closer at it and then, for whatever reason, decided to try it. I bought it, started to read it 4-5 days later, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sandy Reid excellently narrates his childhood, from the moment he was taken from his Scottish family of Tinks until when he was 15 year-old.
Passed from foster family to foster family, children's home to children's home, his innocent charm when very young comes across really well, as does his ability to get himself into trouble. Self-preservation plays a big part in his childhood, as does his struggle to cope with learning respect for his mentors, but he always has his family in his mind - especially his sister Maggie and his mother Mary.