I set out to write this childhood memoir in order to tell the story of two amazing women who happened to be my mother (Lily) and my sister (Linda). In essence I wanted to be my mother’s biographer and to give a sense of period and place. The period is the bleak post-war early 50’s and the place is the slums of North Kensington.
It was a gaslit world that Dickens would have recognised into which came Lily, a the pretty, petite Liverpudlian who’d met my father Steve when she worked at the NAAFI during the war. At the beginning this is the story of Steve, Lily, Linda and Alan, but by the end it’s just Linda and Alan fighting to stay together and escape the slums.
‘This Boy’ won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Orwell Prize for political writing.
The biography of a politician like no other - beautifully observed, humorous, moving, uplifting; told with a dry self-deprecating wit and not a trace of self-pity.