Saturday, 21 May 2016
Rebel Without a Clue
Janet was a social worker and a senior one, at that.
However, the pathway that Janet took to this position in her life, both professional and personal was just a little unusual and just a tad interesting, though that's probably an understatement, to be honest.
The memoir begins in the 1950s.
On the first page we find that Janet was more than a little bit stoned as she began her first gig as a stripper in a less-than-salubrious pub in Hackney.
She points out that at age 27 she should, probably, have been married to a Jewish accountant, had a couple of children, perhaps with another on the way. And maybe living in Croydon.
But, instead, there she was a dope smoking, stripping lesbian.
Her first gig was a little nervous as one would expect, but it went over quite well. As far as she could tell.
But how did she end up there?
Her family life was troubled, she was sexually abused at 14 and entered into a range of jobs from stripping to nude modelling, nursing, shop worker, secretary, student and finally a social worker.
She lived in a hippy commune, went from relationship to relationship, was a mother best described as "mad" and now, after her retirement, she decided to write her memoirs.
As an apparently respectable spinster (Janet's description) her friends were surprised at her decision to write her memoirs. After all, they thought, what had she got to write about?
Well, now they know!
Janet was a person of the swinging sixties, free love, sexual experimentation, hash smoking, the pain of discovering that her sister had been subjected to sexual abuse by their father during her childhood.
And how she finally managed to get it all together to become no less of a rebel but far more clued than she had been.
This is a very interesting book that probably tells something of the stories of many people who lived through the swinging sixties. But thankfully Janet had the courage and the ability to tell her story.
It is published by Matador in paperback at £9.99.
It is available from the Thats Books and Entertainment bookshop, which you'll find to the right of this review.