Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Boy at the Gate A Memoir by Danny Ellis

We are all a product of our upbringing.  Some embrace it, some ignore it, some try to forget it.  But it's always there, hiding in your soul and sniping at you as you go through life...

Arcade Publishing sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Danny Ellis was born in the 1950's and lived in the tenement slums in Dublin.  This is the story of his early life.  He speaks of his family falling apart, the Artane Industrial School, and the people who influenced him in his life choices.  This is not an altogether pleasant read.  Seeing a young child's family disintegrate with the children placed in different orphanages is ugly.  The Artane Industrial School was run by Christian Brothers.  They wanted total discipline, any perceived misdemeanor involved beating with a leather strap, and bullies abounded the corridors.  If you were a child of favor, you could pick on the new arrivals.  Danny learned early you'd best find a friend that could clue you in on how things work and protect your backside.

The one thing that kept Danny sane was his love of music.  That's what helped him get through the Artane school also.  Learning to play an instrument made up for other miseries.

Even when he's left those memories of the past far behind, they never go away.  He finds himself one day, singing about that time.  He doesn't want to but he has to.  The only way to overcome it's influence on him is to purge it from his system.  The amazing part is that when he makes the song public, he finds some of his old friends from the past.  

This is a well-written heartbreaking story that has a happy ending.  It's not the least bit boring.  It's just an honest look at a hard part of his life and I found it fascinating.  Why don't you give it a try?

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