October 28, 2019

Can you recover from abuse ?

Willie Orr

WritingMICK, 201915,000 words

This novel was inspired by three sources – fostering youngsters from List D schools, meeting ‘boarded-out’ boys on farms in the Highlands and reading Lynn Abrams’ ‘The Orphan Country. Lynn’s factual account of the cruelty suffered by some ‘boarded-out’ boys matched the stories I had heard directly from youngsters in the West. Their voices had rarely been heard in fiction so I thought I would take on the challenge. Having fostered disturbed, damaged and disaffected children, I knew about their pain and can still hear their voices.
I could have portrayed Mick, the central character and a ‘boarded-out’ boy, as a victim of the abuse which he suffers, sinking helplessly into a life of addiction, crime and despair, but I wanted him to win. In my work with dysfunctional families I was often astonished by the resilience and courage shown by some of the youngsters and I was keen to attach that admiration to Mick. He escapes, therefore, from cruel foster parents to look for his mother in the Gorbals, survives till he…