13 April, 2013

Ten Hail Marys

Ten Hail Marys - Kate Howarth
From Goodreads: Frank and funny, this memoir vividly recounts the first 17 years of the author’s life in Sydney’s slums and in New South Wales’ countryside. Abandoned by her mother as a baby and by her volatile grandmother as a young girl, Kate Howarth was shunted between Aboriginal relatives and expected to grow up fast. It was a childhood beset by hardship, abuse, profound grief, and poverty, but buoyed with the hope that one day she would make a better life for herself and her child. Incredibly moving, this is the compelling true story of a childhood lost and a young woman’s hard-won self-possession.

What I Thought: This is a book I picked up off the shelving trolley at work. It tells the story of Kate Howarth and her fight to keep her baby as an unwed mother in the 1960's. It details her life as a child passed from family member to family member at the drop of a hat, for no apparent reason. Like several other books I have read recently it provides a glimpse at a life so different from my own and situations I know I will never find myself in.
Howarth portrays her family as one that holds many secrets and troubles. Aunts that are abused, mothers that are really grandmothers and prodigal children that appear and disappear on a whim. Given her background, Howarth's strength in the face of everyone (including her mother, her boyfriend and the nuns at the home for unwed mothers) trying to make her give up her baby, is inspirational.
As is often the case with true life books, the end isn't quite what you expect, but it left me with a great admiration for Kate Howarth and a want to know more. There is mention of a sequel called Pray For Us Sinners, but I am unable to find a publication date. All I know is that I will be keeping an eye out for it.

Challenges: 13 in 13 Challenge, Aussie author Challenge