Monday, 24 August 2015

Survivor by Fatima Whitbread. Book review

Hello. My book reviews never get a lot of comments. I suppose that's understandable because everyone has different tastes in what they like reading. What I read may not be your cup of tea, but it helps me to remember what I've read if I record it here, and if you fancy giving it a go you might find my review helpful. 
I'm not a sporty person and I wouldn't normally pick up a book about a sports person, but the blurb on the back ignited my interest in the woman behind the gold medalist. 
Fatima Whitbread had a terrible start in life, at three months old she was abandoned in a council flat in London by her birth mother. Alone for two days she began to cry, she had nothing to eat or drink, she was filthy, and she was ill. A neighbour called the police and they broke the door down to discover her, any longer and she could have died.

After being taken into care she was sent to a childrens home, where the regime was cold and uncaring. Fatima desperately needed to be loved but for many years no love came. She always refers to her birth mother as the woman who gave birth to her, and her father was a passing boyfriend.

She became a bit of a rebel at school, she had a disruptive streak to her, and was often in trouble. But then she discovered a passion for sport, which eventually helped her to turn her life around. Eventually she found her loving family and was adopted by Margaret Whitbread who was to become her coach.

Once I started this book I found it hard to put down. This inspirational woman has had a traumatic and shocking life, but she went on to become a world champion. The first part is about her life in various childrens homes, and her search for love. After many years of hard work she triumphs on the athletics field, but  after her retirement there were more tragedies to come. One good thing did come out of it was having her son. I won't tell you any more, but just to say, this book is well worth reading. It will sadden you, but you will also share her joy as she wins her medals and becomes world champion. It's an easy read written with sensitivity and passion.

Here she is winning her gold medal.


Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip

19 comments:

  1. Hi Ilona
    I like reading books of this nature and was wondeing if you have ever come across the author Helen Forrester these were autobiographical writings and so very much worth a read

    Twopence to Cross The Mersey (1974) ISBN 0-00-636168-4

    Liverpool Miss (originally published as Minerva's Stepchild) (1979) ISBN 0-00-636494-2

    By the Waters of Liverpool (1981) ISBN 0-00-636540-X

    Lime Street at Two (1985) ISBN 0-00-637000-4
    thanks fro the heads up about Fatimas biography will pop along to the libary and see if I can check it out
    hope all is well with you and yours
    Rachel

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    1. I love Helen Forrester's books. She had a riches to rags life but I won't give any more away for those who haven't read her books.

      I watched a programme about Fatima a while ago and she did indeed have a very sad and difficult start in life.

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    2. Hi. Yes I have read some of Helen Forresters books, it was a long time ago and I can't remember which ones.

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    3. My younger sibling read her books in the '80s, I was meant to follow suit but sadly have yet to read them. I bought her fiction based one for 10p a few years back from the library, this like many others are on my read list but finding the luxury to read books(addicted to internet blogs etc.)is a challenge right now(good writer:-;

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  2. Thank you for this review. I would not usually pick up a 'sports' book, and your review has made me add this to my reading list. :-)

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  3. Hi I love reading. I like to read thrillers. Spy stories. Detective stories. And get all my books from charity shops. My husband likes the same style so they get read by both of us!
    Still love reading your blog.

    My mum loves war time stories and stories set in much
    earlier times, she gets all her books from the library sensible lady. It's been raining all day here. Curtains closed early and good knitting time. Reading latter.
    I have always liked Fatima and can remember watching her on TV.
    Hope all is good with you. Take care Ginny x



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    1. All is good with me Ginny, thank you. Your comment reminds me winter is on it's way, brrrrrrr ;o(

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  4. Oh no. I didn't know she has had such a traumatic early life. It is very inspiring. I am in contact with a very special girl who is having a similar childhood. She is very disruptive and has emotional problems, but at the same time I can see a spirit in her that will hopefully have a positive outcome. I'm sorry to say I have lost faith in her social workers. The early years in a child's life are so important. Thanks for recommendations of this book - it does sound interesting. Debbie.

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    1. Debbie, you will find this book very helpful. Look after your special girl, you don't know what talents she has hidden in there.

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  5. I am a reader and love reading book reviews. Yours included. I think many readers feel like I do. I won't necessarily read the book that is reviewed, but I like to read them none the less. I feel like this book would interest me. Don't know whether I will. I have a large stack next to my bed. So keep giving us the book reviews. I love them.

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    1. Summed it up perfectly, Tana!

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  6. I appreciate your book reviews. I like to read true stories and I did read one you posted about, Tales of a Tiller Girl. I enjoyed it very much! I will look for this one. It sounds very interesting. Thanks Ilona! -- Martha from Kansas

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  7. Yes, she's inspirational. Natalie

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  8. I actually quite like your reviews, Iona(similar literary tastes ie biographies:) & yet another book on one's reading list thanks to you. Thankyou!

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    1. Hi Linda. If you read the reviews on Amazon, there isn't a negative one there. Everyone likes it.

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  10. I like your book reviews because I also like non-fiction. I have tried to find a few of your books at my local library which is fairly large but I think a lot of UK books do not make it to the U.S. I still enjoy your reviews.

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  11. Hi.I sent a comment yesterday re:your book reviews.Hmm.Guess I didn't get it through.So,just wanted to say that your reviews are interesting to me and I like to read them.Your unique perspective and choice of books are very different from my regular reading choices,such as this recent inspiring life story.I love reading and am always curious about what's out there that would be new to me.I download from our public library onto my e-reader so some titles are not available to me.The selection of U.K. authors' work would be titles picked by the library.I can get Booker prize nominated books and have enjoyed them here.Bye for now,D.

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  12. Keep up the reviews...I have been prompted to read a few of your recommendations. We must share the same tastes. Thanks x

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