This book begins with Cathy's escape from the killer, Peter Tobin. Clutching her young son she flees, fearing he will catch her and kill her. Her family say, "it can't be that bad". Until, one day, he is arrested and then they know that, indeed, it was.
The first half of this book is about Cathy's childhood. Her mother was a bit of a wild child, becoming pregnant when very young. She marries Cathy's father, but the marriage fails, and so begins a life which Cathy accepts as normal, but which is anything but. Flitting from flat to flat when she fails to pay the rent, Cathy's mum does her best, but struggles to maintain a proper life for her daughter. She has a drink and drugs problem and Cathy suffers both serious neglect and also abuse from men that her mother meets. As a mother myself, I found this part of the book very hard to read and my heart goes out to Cathy for all that she suffered. Luckily for her, she had good grandparents who cared for her, but she struggled with a life filled with rules after the nomadic existence she had previously lived.
This childhood also made her a perfect victim for Peter Tobin. He could see beneath the confident exterior that Cathy presented. A child who had been forced to be an adult too young, with responsibilities no child should face, she was vulnerable and he used that vulnerability. This is a shocking book, upsetting in parts, but told with no self pity and remarkable honesty. Cathy's son is lucky that his mother is a strong and brave woman. It is a shame that she was forced to find such strength so young, but I wish her well and am glad I read her remarkable story.