The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis

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The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Two books in one to celebrate the 2010 film The Kid. It's better than a misery memoir with a definite lesson to be learned about how children are treated.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0141048598

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Kevin Lewis grew up on a poverty-stricken London council estate in the sort of home that the neighbours complain about. His mother – inadequate by any measure – hated him more than most of her six children and he was beaten and starved by both of his parents. You might think that Social Services would have stepped in and removed him, but any relief was to be short-lived. Eventually he was put into care but even then the support was inadequate and Kevin found himself caught up in a criminal underworld where he was known simply as 'The Kid'.

There's a startling lack of self-pity in the book. Yes, the story is dreadful and you wonder if there was a queue of people waiting to murder Gloria, his mother. His father, Dennis should have been at the head of the queue, but he was another inadequate unable to cope with life. Amazingly a strong bond developed between the children, which has carried forward into adult life, despite the fact that some child-cruelty issues have carried over to the next generation.

Along with the lack of self-pity there's a noticeable lack of bitterness towards the people who should have been better to him or who could have done more to help and it's this that raises the book over the usual level of misery memoir. The book was written to explain Kevin's childhood to his wife – who knew nothing of what had gone on – and there's a reassuring lack of the sound of axes being ground or old scores settled. It's a book to learn from rather than to salivate over the details of the abuse.

The contents of this book were initially published as The Kid and The Kid Moves On so even if you read the 2004 publication there's further interesting material. For those who missed the initial publication there's a great deal to absorb in the book. Kevin is brutally honest about the life he used to lead – and it's not difficult to see how he got into it – and I can only hope that it gives food for thought on the subject of the support given to children who have been in care. It's not a cheerful read, but it's certainly enlightening.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We're not big on this type of book but we found that Silenced by Vicky Jaggers and How Could He Do It? by Emma Charles had important points to make about the fact that children should be listened to.

Buy The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis at

Buy The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Kid: A True Story by Kevin Lewis at


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Karla Winter said:

Dear Publishers

I have just finished reading the above and like any other reader, was moved by Kevin's story. I would be most grateful if my humble thanks and admiration can be passed on to the author, and lastly wish him and his family continuing happiness, peace and love.

Well done Kevin for coming up trumps despite all.

Warm wishes,