Dance For Your Daddy
by Katherine Shellduck
(a.k.a. Desperate Hearts)
Publisher; Ebury Press/UK/2007
I know I have been hiding for the last few months. I have been reading, but I have also been renovating my house during that time. So, sadly, some things have fallen by the wayside. But I am back and ready to launch into some open and honest opinions!
Plot; Kathy had a "brutal East End childhood". One of four children, all girls, Kathy was openly disliked by her father. A man who had no job and catered to his own whims, often leaving his daughters and wife to starve at home.
Kathy is nine when her father first pushes her mother into prostitution, and while life is pleasant for all four girls, with the new flow of money, they soon realise that they have been placed on a roller coaster. A roller coaster headed for poverty, affluence, state children's homes, private boarding schools and, eventually, murder.
My Thoughts; I found this book at the local department store for just a few dollars. I thought it might make for an interesting and quick read to entertain me on my train ride to work. Little did I know how much I would enjoy it.
Katherine "Kathy" Shellduck is, by profession, a journalist but this memoir is in no way formal. It is written in a relaxed, easy to read style, making it a wonderful book for all kinds of readers to grab and enjoy.
Kathy is honest. Beautifully honest. She hasn't been affraid to openly talk about some of the most traumatic events of her life, and she writes them in such an innocent way.
Shellduck has written this story through the eyes of her childhood. She has detailed those sweet and innocent thoughts that only a child can have, not really understanding what is going on around them and assuming that all things are good things. One such example is when the girls are first taken away from their parents and one of Kathy's first thoughts is for her hamster and how it will be fed.
There are alot of laughs in this book. I embarrased myself many-a-time by laughing out loud on the train as I read, but the emotion I most felt was sadness. I even shed a few tears, which is not a common event when I read.
The people in this book are so much fun to travel with. Yes her father is a violent figure and her mother is fleeting, but the four sisters are so lovable, as are the children the girls meet as they go from home to home. You become so mingled within the lives of the girls that you just wish you could cuddle them and tell them they will be ok.
One of the things I liked the most about this book was the ending. I hope I am not going to give too much away, but the last two chapters are shown through the eyes of the older Kathy. Shellduck writes as she is now, looking back on her past, wanting to find what it is she missed during her childhood, what the missing link is to fill the void.
I think I can easily recommend this book to anyone. It is entertaining, it is emotive and it is enlightening.