‘Lovely Girls’: a grim tale of one woman’s life in an institution

‘Lovely Girls‘ is not lovely at all. Described by one person as ‘wonderful, inasmuch as something so crushing can be wonderful‘, and by another as ‘richly conceived and … harrowing’, it is a fictional account of the life of one woman in an institution for ‘the mentally handicapped’. I worked in such places in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. I was part of the closure programme when people were moved from this awfulness to more humane environments, and I saw how the attitudes of both public and ex-patients changed. Service users gained skills and self-respect, our neighbours learned how to communicate with someone … Continue reading ‘Lovely Girls’: a grim tale of one woman’s life in an institution

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Winterbourne abuse scandal

Writing is writing, right? Someone in ‘Good Will Hunting’ said that, if you can do it, you should, on behalf of all those who can’t. Well this link to my other blog, my other life, is my writerly way of speaking for those who can’t. Others have done the same. Journalists have made erudite comment. The BBC gave us the material. But we all knew it was happening, somewhere in our souls, our collective psyche. We knew that we could not always trust humans to act with humanity, or decency, or even just plain neglectfully. We knew that some would see an opportunity for … Continue reading Winterbourne abuse scandal

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