A Broken Childhood: A True Story of Abuse by Lydia Ola Taiwo
|A Broken Childhood: A True Story of Abuse by Lydia Ola Taiwo|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A childhood broken in more ways than one as Ola moves from a happy foster home to the abuse and neglect which was all that her parents could offer. It's a heart-breaking story. Lydia Ola Taiwo was kind enough to talk to us about the writing of the book.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 104||Date: July 2011|
|Publisher: Book Guild|
Mojisola – known to everyone as Ola – was born to a Nigerian couple in London in 1964 and spent the first five years of her life in a foster home in Brighton. Here she was loved, looked after and lived her life in a genuinely good family. This wasn't an unusual arrangement as it allowed the biological parents to earn money without worrying about childcare – and Ola was happy. It was all the more cruel when her biological father arrived to take her 'home' for the weekend – a weekend which would stretch into seven years of abuse and neglect.
Lydia Ola Taiwo tells the story of her life – first in a cramped single room and then in a more spacious flat – with candour and an amazing lack of emotion, considering that she bears the scars of the many beatings she received to this day. Her father kicked her in the head (resulting in weeks away from school) but her mother's weapon of choice was electrical cabling – with the copper wires exposed. Although Ola thought that she was an only child she later discovered that she had a younger sister and a brother was born some years later. Unfortunately this meant that Ola had childcare responsibilities way beyond her years and her sister would have to carry a similar burden, resulting at one point in an horrific accident.
At the age of twelve Ola and her sister were sent to live in Nigeria and they were to live there for three years without their parents. We're promised another book which will tell us about her time in Nigeria. Ola spent many years writing this slim volume and we can only hope that we don't have to wait so long to hear about Nigeria! Whilst the subject of A Broken Childhood does not make for easy reading, Ola's sparse and elegant writing is a pleasure to read.
For me the most amazing part about this book is that Ola feels able to forgive her parents for what they did to her – in fact she realised that this was necessary if she was to move on from what happened and live a normal, productive life. I was also shocked when I realised that her parents were professional people, who should have known better how to look after their children – and been able to put it into practice.
There's a useful list of contacts at the back of the book if child abuse is suspected. I could hope that it will not be much needed, but sadly I fear that this will not be the case.
I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Abuse of children is not unusual, and we recently read of the experiences of Anna Burley in Bipolar Parent.
Lydia Ola Taiwo was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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