20 Feb 2013


Having first heard about WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE  HERE on Rachel's site I thought I'd contribute by joining in on her .....

by reviewing this and my second book, a novel, The Quiet Raging by Sherryl Jordan, tomorrow.


Twenty-year-old Sophie Lancaster was kicked and stamped to death by a pack of 'feral' youths at her local park in Bacup, Lancashire. Her boyfriend Rob Maltby was also set upon and received life-threatening injuries.

Their only 'crime' was to dress differently, as 'goths' or 'moshers' in the easy shorthand of the media, which cited the killing as another example of Broken Britain.

Catherine Smyth was the first reporter on the scene and remained at the heart of the story throughout. A mother herself, she writes evocatively of the impact it had on both the Lancaster family and Bacup itself.

Smyth has unearthed several anomalies: the police admitted initially attending the wrong park and the ambulance took 14 minutes to travel a distance of a mile in reaching the scene.

While relating the horrific nature of the attack, Smyth also focuses on the good to rise from evil - a town rallying in support of a stricken family, a mother showing incredible dignity and, most of all a campaign launched to inform the world of the grave dangers of intolerance. As one banner carried at a parade in memory of Sophie proclaimed 'Hate is easy - love takes courage'.
..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): I will never forget that phone call.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 8): The youths were fascinated by the appearance of Rob and Sophie - the Goth-style clothing, individual hairstyles and Sophie with her dreadlocks and many piercings: more than 20.

MY THOUGHTS: Because of the horrendous subject matter of the book and the fact that part of its sale is donated to charity I feel almost petty in mentioning this but, feeling obliged to review it as I would any other book, I feel I must mention how frustrated I was that, peppered with spelling/typing(?) errors, it wasn't better written/edited.

The true story of two young people one of whom was murdered, the other badly beaten because of their alternative lifestyle, because of their 'goth' way of dressing, 'Weirdo. Mosher. Freak', though thankfully not quite as graphic in its descriptions as I had feared, is without a doubt a harrowing read, the narrative of the call to the ambulance service (complete with background noises) particularly so.

Written by local journalist Catherine Smyth who attempts to answer some of the questions surrounding the events of that fateful night, this is a fairly personal account in which, largely told in chronological order, the reader really gets a feel for many of those involved though, and perhaps rightfully so, the motives of Sophie's murderers are not as fully explored as they might have been.

Saved from being a totally unbearable read by the description of the outpouring of public grief,  by the accounts of community spirit, by all the fundraising events, film festivals and peace demonstrations in Sophie's honour, whilst I can hardly say this is an enjoyable read I found it to be a surprisingly uplifting one.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Received from a journalist friend who had been asked to review the book, I shan't be keeping it.

NB. Profits from the sale of this book were divided equally between the author, publisher and the SOPHIE LANCASTER FOUNDATION.

 Disclaimer #1: Removal of any part of this post without my express consent is considered copyright infringement. This post was created by and for Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper. If you are reading this post on any other site please contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Suko said...

Oh, how awful that this is a true story! Thanks for your honest review. I'm glad to hear that it was uplifting at least.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Actually even despite the good this is trying to create, there really should be good editing. Besides that would help a book become better and more well received. This would be a hard subject for me to read, but I'm so glad you found it uplifting.

Gina said...

Wow on the content such a crazy world we live in...but agreed on the editing.

Yanting Gueh said...

The subject matter makes the book the type I'd really want to read, though I am a little put off because I don't want to cringe at the spelling errors.

ashok said...

accept your award here:


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

Having a book which has been poorly edited, proof-read etc. is a big enough wind-up at the best of times, however, given that the book is written by a journalist, it is downright inexcusable!

I am really not one for memoirs or non fiction accounts of this type of horrendous, mindless behaviour towards another human being. If you don't mind me putting it bluntly, once one person commits their story to paper, then I find that the marketplace is flooded with similar accounts, from other victims, with almost every book telling a story which is pretty much he same.

In my opinion, Britain is very much a broken society at the moment, although I suspect, no worse than anywhere else in the world. There is just no respect or tolerance towards each other and that goes just as much for the older generation, as the young.

I am glad that you got something out of reading the book, even if it only went some way to restoring your faith in society a little.


Kelly said...

A shame it wasn't edited more carefully. Unfortunately, that will often cloud a reader's perceptions, especially in a fact-based book.

Blond Duck said...

Absolutely horrific!

Jess@Fairday's Blog said...

How awful that this is based on a true story. Sad! I am sorry to hear that the editing and errors made it harder to read. I can get hung up on things like that, too. Thanks for sharing your honest review!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book! It sounds disturbing. :( I, too, get frustrated with typos and spelling errors...but I'm glad it was saved from being unbearable. :) I'll suit myself with your review...probably pass on the book

Thanks for participating in the Social Justice Theme Read! I really appreciate everyone's reviews so much! :)