I never usually take part in any form of Social Media, but after just finishing reading Childhood Interrupted, felt compelled to write to you.
It was a beautifully written book, which I found very touching and which I identified with on many levels. My dearest departed mother was brought up in a Protestant orphange in Dublin and left Ireland in the late fifties for ‘the land of milk and honey, where the streets are paved of gold’, (as she used to say) for a better life. Like you, despite the harsh treatment in the orphanage, (not that dissimilar to yourself, only minus sadistic nuns), she had a positivity that spurred her on. Unfortunately during her nursing training she met my father, a much older married man who played on her innocence and niaevity. Consequently, by the time that myself and brother had come along she was trapped in an unhappy marriage which she was unable to escape from. During the 1960’s the realisation that she had no one in the world lead her to suffer much ill health, both mental and physical. During this time, my brother and I found ourselves in two children’should homes, one here and one in Ireland. I also suffered sexual abuse by a family member, and like you had to undergo a upsetting and degrading hospital examination which at the end of the day, proved nothing. Only a few months ago, I tried through Surrey Social Services under the Freedom of Informationew Act to find the files to help me understand what happened when I was just 6 years old. However, I have discovered that the law changed in 1989 for councils keeping records and they have probably been destroyed. I think the Freedom of Information Act is a load of baloney quite honestly as I found when I was searching for my mother’s mother whilst trying to fulfill her dying wish. I did through sheer determination find her family after a decade of searching, but it was too late really as she died within a few months of her 78th year after meeting her long lost brothers she never knew she had, for the first and last time.
Her life could have been so of different if she had not been born out of wedlock in a socially repressed 1930’s Ireland.
I am not Catholic but have deep empathy for all who suffered in institutions in Ireland in an age when illegitimacy was outlawed. I would like to be able to help in some way if I could and after reading several books on the same theme, round up all the nuns and priests and see them prosecuted like Nazis war criminals.
I really enjoyed reading your book and appreciated your honesty throughout. My only great sadness was reading about the relationship with your mother at the end of her life. She loved you so much Kathleen. All the way through she felt just like my own mother did.
Good luck for the future and if you would like to contact me I would very overjoyed.
The film spoke of everything and nothing, and viewers are certain to see very familiar situations most films don’t mention anymore: identity in the modern world, the bizarreness of the corporate ladder, family resentment. Broken connections to the real world, reinvention of self outside the beaten path, and rekindlings to a new and better (?) reality. Craziness is the way out for those characters, what’s ours?
Mentioning The Office at the beginning of your review, I was a bit startled, Erdmann isn’t comparable in my book; it’s cinematic, charismatic, raw and thought provoking.
Apologies folks – I’ll adjust that. Monosyllabic scandi-names clearly get the better of me…
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