‘All my life I’ve felt everyone has always said no to me, but I cannot say no, not at all. And how could I say no when you were in charge? You were the adult, I was the child. I did as I was told.’
Catherine is five years old when her father dies. With her mother out at work, she and her brother James must spend more and more time with their childminders, Bernard and Pat. Bernard and Pat’s house has a lot of rules. Catherine only knows the rules when she is shouted at for breaking them. Or when everyone laugh-laughs at her. Catherine is confused. She is humiliated. Sometimes Catherine is left alone with Bernard. And she is scared of the dark and she is small and she cries. Bernard and Pat are Christians. Catherine doesn’t think they behave like good people. She wonders why nobody else can see this too.
Now Catherine is grown up but she is stuck, living with the voice of herself as a child. Furious that nobody protected her; that nobody told her people could do such things.
Fierce, playful and searing – Catherine’s voice is unforgettable, created by a writer deeply aware of the peculiarities of memory and committed to the often painful task of putting lived experience into words.