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on April 28, 2013 :
The Pencil Case set in New South Wales, Australia, is the story of Paul Wilson who at the age of seven was wrongfully removed from his home along with his sister, by government authorities because of so called neglect. Paul came from a poor but loving family where he and his sister were secure and happy. Both children were sent to a Catholic orphanage where they endured unbelievable cruelty and hardship at the hands of the nuns. Beatings and not enough food were commonplace.
Paul was a resilient little boy with a strong sense of justice who somehow survived the challenges of living in an orphanage. He was a good kid, but he dreamed of revenge for the unfairness of everything that had happened to him and his sister. The burning need for revenge never leaves him. He is emotionally scarred for life by the government’s bungling and the cruelty he endured from the nuns.
The story traces Paul’s life into adulthood and is beautifully written with sensitivity and understanding. It will pull at your heartstrings, make you cry and awaken anger in you because of the extreme cruelties, lies and disappointments no child should have to endure. Paul was a stolen white child but his ability to face life head on can only be admired.
You won’t be able to put “The Pencil Case” down until you reach the last page.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 03, 2013 :
"The Pencil Case" a definite must read, is a spell-bounding, page turner based on a partially fiction, but well-told story about a young boy and his sister’s unfortunate fate of life. This pair were removed from their parents who loved them more than life, and thrown to people who cared less, but why?
If parents are financially impoverished does it mean that they don’t love their children and can’t provide properly for them? How healthy could it have been to be placed into an orphan life full of cruel evil nuns who beat and tormented sweet little children, and emotionally scarred and ripped them of any chances of a wholesome and balanced life?
Follow author Lorraine Cobcroft, who is a skillful writer that told of a story that she has heard from her husband, and carried into her own adult married life in a very unique way. It takes an adept and proficient writer to weave a story on paper from another’s perspective while allowing the reader to paint a strong vivid picture of past tragic accounts.
Because part of her husband's life spilled over into Lorraine’s life, she had to feel the pain as she scripted her manuscript. I can only imagine her trickled emotions as she managed to write, revise and edit her book chapter after chapter.
As an African-American, I am happy that I had a chance to read this heartrending story. It definitely sanctioned me to gain a different cultural perspective as I embellished my understanding of how other races of people experienced prejudice and unfairness within our diverse society.
“The Pencil Case” should make its way as a very prominent and popular stage play one day. I hope to have the opportunity to be in the audience for its opening debut.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
M. A. McRae
on April 02, 2013 :
‘The Pencil Case’ is a very powerful story, a story of a child and his sister, taken from parents who loved them to a place where no-one loved them. Paul’s parents were unable to provide decent housing, and sometimes he went hungry. So he was sentenced to a harsh prison for children, a place where living conditions were worse, he was always hungry, and he was routinely beaten by perverted evil women who liked to think they were ‘Brides of Christ.’ If he hadn’t refused to be confirmed as Catholic at the age of 12, he would have been taken to a different place, a place run by priests, a place where it is alleged that many suffered sexual abuse. Instead, he was beaten even more severely than usual, and taken to a different home, this time a home where the boys were treated far better.
A quote from the book:
‘Water-laden clouds blackened large expanses of grey sky and the wind cried and swept the town pavements clean of their litter the day Ern Stanley gathered up the voluminous legal file he had compiled over a month of journeying with me through time, and we drove through the gates of Dubbo airport. Later, Ern would remark that he came to associate the black day with the black story I told. Over a month of travel, listening, and observation, I had forced him to confront, full force, the ugly side of the society that fed him, and it scarred him.’
I have read the whole of this story, and also feel scarred. It is hard to stop thinking about it – so powerful. This is not a story of something a long time ago, or of a place far away. Paul is very close to my own age, I know the towns he speaks of. It is set in the fifties, an era of prosperity for Australia, and civilised values – civilised values apparently not shared by the Catholic church and its employees. The nuns separated brothers and sisters, allowed them no contact with family, deprived them of personal possessions, even of the clothes they arrived in, dressed them in poor clothes and half starved them. As if this was not enough, the poor children were repeatedly told they were scum, just as their parents were scum, and they were beaten on a regular basis.
‘The Pencil Case’ is a story that should be heard.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)