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Firstly, Iet me declare that I do know Phil. He led the first story telling group that I ever joined and encouraged me greatly. I didn’t know anything about this part of his life though, and only found out from the book and a radio interview about the book. Phil has worked in journalism, marketing and research consultancy, training, lecturing and public speaking. He has already written three travel books and co-authored a football publication. Secondly, I’ll talk about the book. ‘Enjoy’ isn’t the sort of word for books like this, but it certainly kept me gripped. I wanted to find out what had happened. It was well written and the mysteries unfolded at a steady pace. This is the true story of most of Phil’s life. However, until recently he knew very little of it himself. He was abandoned as a new-born child in 1953. The care system, and the people within it, deliberately kept him ignorant of his family history and he was 45 years old before he had access to any information. He neatly uses the wad of reports which he was then given as the chronological framework for his story and he pieces the life he lived, through the child’s eyes with which he saw it, into this frame. Sometimes it fits and sometimes there are differences. Phil had to try to find the truth, try to work out what might have happened and try to fill in the gaps, like a detective. Like a detective finds, motives are one of the strong themes running through this book. At times they are stated, but were they the true motives or were they covers? At other times those in Phil’s life may not even have realised the subconscious reasons for doing things. There are also times when they knew very well. Phil does not write in self-pity. His spirit seems indomitable, as it does in real life and he finds the good and the precious in others too, but his anger and frustration does show through at times and that is understandable. He wonders why things happened, what might have been, if, and how did it affect him. He is particularly angry on behalf of his friends, and so should we be. He resists sensationalism but even plain facts and suspicions speak loudly. “a very powerful and moving love story … brilliantly written … a gripping detective story” Rt. Hon. Tony Benn “This is a brilliant evocation of a turbulent childhood, which I read at one sitting, interrupted only by a night’s sleep. It should be required reading for everyone whose life impinges on that of a neglected child and deserves a much wider audience. The author has woven together from records kept on him and his own memory, a fascinating account of his roots and how he came to be what he is.” Sir Ronald Waterhouse GBE “An important and moving book … the uplifting story of a man with an indomitable spirit.” Malcolm Dean Assistant Editor, The Guardian