This Boy by Alan Johnson

Into the Wild

Read This Boy Online Free - Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of post-war Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all...

This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child.

Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity in pre-gentrified Notting Hill, through the race riots, school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, to the rock-and-roll years, making a record in Denmark Street and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens.

This Boy is one man’s story, but it is also a story of England and the West London slums which are so hard to imagine in the capital today. No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries.

Title : This Boy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1448110483
Edition Language : English
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Caroline rated it ★★★★☆

June 16, 2015

This was an interesting book about the childhood of Alan Johnson. He has held senior positions in the Labour governments of Blair and Brown - that of Home secretary, Health Secretary and Education Secretary. He was also Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has travelled a very long road indeed t...

John rated it ★★★★☆

October 14, 2017

This is the childhood memoir of the Labour MP and former government minister and shadow minister. A childhood in West London in the 1950s and 60s, captured by a child of the time. It is worth recalling that the grinding poverty he, his mother and sister experienced was so recent. Both women as de...

Angela rated it ★★★★★

March 20, 2014

It is rare that I choose a book written by a politician, but I’m very glad that this one caught my eye. I had seen Alan Johnson being interviewed about this memoir of his early years in London and wondered how he eventually became a cabinet minister in the Labour Governments of both Tony Blair an...

Ana rated it ★★★☆☆

January 16, 2016

This autobiography of Alan Johnson takes the reader through the first years of his life, detailing his experiences in London in the 1950s and 1960s, making for a very good looking-glass into that day's society. It's written in a loose manner and allows for an easy read, even if the topics (povert...

Maura rated it ★★★★★

May 29, 2013

Loved this, warmly written and a reminder of how things were for so many before a proper welfare state. Let's not go back there.

Allan rated it ★★★★☆

June 14, 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed this award winning childhood memoir by former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson, detailing his life in the post war slums of Notting Hill in the 1950s and 60s, when his experiences not only reflected those facing the working class at the time, but also were exacerbated by an...

Penny rated it ★★★★☆

December 10, 2014

I would normally give an autobiography by a politician, and a Labour one at that, a very wide swerve. But Johnson always seemed a decent person and was once the Minister for the Department I worked for. Memoirs of poor childhoods in London are ten a penny. I wanted to see what the fuss was all abo...

CarolineFromConcord rated it ★★★★☆

January 27, 2018

This memoir by a contemporary British politician's childhood in grinding poverty is amazing. It's hard to get hold of in this country, though. I learned about it from a GoodReads follower who lives in the UK. The author is Alan Johnson, b. 1950, In additio...

Wendy rated it ★★★★★

December 10, 2017

One of the most engaging memoirs I have read for some time. Not only is the content fascinating but Johnson's writing style is storytelling of the best sort encouraging you to page turn so he can keep telling you more. There is a complete lack of chip on the shoulder about the hardship he grew up...

Stephen rated it ★★★☆☆

April 10, 2017

first part of alan johnson autobiography this part looking at growing up in the notting hill area of london in the slums and the early death of his mother lily and the absent father steve and how linda and his sister survived until both got married to mike and judy.

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