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Lowborn by Kerry Hudson

Lowborn book cover
Lowborn: growing up, getting away and returning to Britain’s poorest towns

There are many stories about the great, the good, and the wealthy, but very little from the perspective of someone “lowborn”: someone in poverty, dependent on Councils and landlords for a home, a single parent family which struggles. Kerry’s style is accessible and honest, without being sentimental or laboured. I feel all she is asking for is respect, and that the reader trusts her, trusts that she is telling her story with honesty.

The premise of this book is how someone who starts life lowborn manages to cross the educational, and therefore financial and cultural, divide when they go to university and obtain a degree. It is a biography of Kerry’s upbringing, interlaced with life today in communities where poverty, mental health and negativity are the staple diet. She doesn’t seek sympathy or pity as she recalls the desperate rooms she and her mum lived in, which they called home. Kerry weaves memories of her childhood of her extended family and the different schools she went to with revisits to the same towns today and chats with the locals. Kerry remembers long coach journeys to another far-flung town in Scotland or England as her mum optimistically chased dreams of a better life but found it was invariably worse. I found this book was very readable and enlightening. Not always an easy read but threw light on how other families live their lives through no fault of the own.

– reviewed by Hilary Cox from Midsomer Norton Library & One Stop Shop

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