Please Don’t Make Me Go: How One Boy’s Courage Overcame A Brutal Childhood

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HarperCollins Publishers, Sep 4, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
15 Reviews

The harrowing true story of one boy’s experiences in a brutal ‘approved’ school for young offenders in ‘50s London, run by Catholic monks where violence and abuse were rife.

Beaten from an early age by his abusive, father, John struggled to fit in at school where his poverty marked him out. When, aged 13, his father brought a charge against him in order to remove him from the family home, John found himself in Juvenile Court – from here he was sent to the notorious St. Vincent’s school, run by a group of Catholic Irish Brothers.

Beatings and abuse were a part of daily life – both from John’s fellow pupils, but also from the brothers, all of which was overseen by the sadistic headmaster, Brother De Montfort. Tormented physically and sexually by one boy in particular, and by the Brothers in general, John quickly learnt to survive but at the cost of the loss of his childhood.

Please Don’t Make Me Go, tells in heart-rending detail the day-to-day lives of John and the other boys – the beatings, the weapons fashioned from toilet chains and stones, the loneliness – but we also see the development of John’s love of reading, his growing friendship with Father Delaney and his best friend, Bernard, and his unstinting love for his mother whom he feared was suffering at the hands of his violent father.

A painfully honest account, Please Don’t Make Me Go is testament to the resilience of the human spirit as it documents how John learnt to survive and come through his ordeal.

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Review: Please Don't Make Me Go

User Review  - Catherine Williams - Goodreads

This book was amazing, I loved hearing what happened and how he survived. It was terrible what happened to him and I'm so happy that he's happy with a family now. Great book! Read full review

Review: Please Don't Make Me Go

User Review  - Patsy Chilson - Goodreads

So very sad to know this type of treatment went on in these places. Catholic brothers … cruel and sick.. Very interesting read for me… wish he would have elaborated more on the part from getting out of prison and making a normal life for himself. Read full review

About the author (2008)

Following his ordeal at St. Vincents school, John Fenton was sent to Ireland by his father and spent several years in the army before becoming a lorry driver. He is now retired and is married with three children. He lives in Cumbria.

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