Tuesday, 1 November 2016
My Name is Leon - Kit de Waal
This is not a book to make the reader smile. But it does compel the reader to turn the pages, getting
ever more angry with each of them. If you can, imagine you are 9 years old, with a new baby brother. You have a black father, he has a white. Your Mum is addicted to prescription drugs, alcohol and is suffering for post natal depression. Imagine being a carer for that new brother.
Leon loves that little baby very much, and he does what he can. When his Mum will not get out of bed and the food in the cupboards is gone, the formula milk for the baby nearly finished, Leon must tell Tina upstairs who has often cared for him. Things do not go well when Social Services are brought onto the scene, for Leon's Mum needs hospitalisation, and there is no other family. This is Leon's story. This is how he learns that even people you love can let you down even when you are sure they are not going to. This is how he learns that people are not always what they seem. This is how he learns that loving someone may not be enough.
Set in London, in the year leading up to the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, there were dark deeds aplenty, the police were not the police we know today, and somehow, at nine years old, Leon has to find his way in life. This is an adult read, but I think many younger adults would get a lot from this. This was a time I lived in London. This was a period I remember, and yes, it was a dark time. But not all of it. Maybe Leon will find a home and someone he loves. Maybe.....