Ashworth, Andrea "Once in a House on Fire" - 1999
I absolutely loved this book. The writing is just wonderful. You can imagine being there which is the best praise I can give to an author.
Andrea Ashworth describes her youth in a penniless household full of violence and other problems. Her depressive mother sends the family through a series of stepfathers, none of whom can be describe as "normal" family members.
I just admire Andrea for what she achieved despite all the problems she had and could have used as an excuse to fall into the same pattern as her mother did. I felt sorry for the mother at times, angry at others but then sorry again because I can see how you end up like her. She just didn't have any hope that anything could get better if she changed.
In any case, I can highly recommend this book. And no, I don't want to hear anything that would spoil my admiration for the book and the author, either.
From the back cover:
"For Andrea Ashworth, home is not a place of comfort and solace, but of violence and fear. Her father died when she was five, leaving her close-knit, loving family to battle with poverty abuse and the long shadow of depression. But from the ashes of 1970s Manchester and the hardships of her coming-of-age in the late 1980s, Andrea finds the courage to rise...
Written with eye-opening honesty, rare beauty and intense power, Once in a House on Fire is a ground-breaking memoir, endearing in its humour and compassion, and life-affirming in its portrait of terrible circumstances triumphantly overcome."