In his memoir, No Accountability by Keith Lawton, we hear a story about the author as a young child who was put into foster care in the UK. Lawton had a schizophrenic mother and alcoholic dad who the system worked with up until the father’s death and the mother’s remittance to a mental health facility. At that time the three boys were split up and put into different child care facilities. Lawton loses his brothers at an early age when memories are still forming, but he is able to piece together his memories with the help of his file he obtained in his adult life. This writing is meant to be a healing project for the author and to expose a broken system that he is pleading with the powers to be to change. The reader will follow him through the horrors of his life as a foster child and ward of the state and later as he searches for his family in his adult life.
This book is clearly written with a lot of passion and brings to life the failed system the author endured which damaged him more than his family ever could. The author has chosen not to go into details of the events that happened and the reader can clearly read between the lines of some of the abuse he endured, but without being able to tell us some basic things it is at times hard to follow the failures of the system which the author speaks about. At times the pleas for change in the current system are so long and passionate it is almost as if the author has gotten a soapbox out to plead with us for the change. I agree with the author’s assessment based on what he wrote and alluded to, but at times it is difficult to understand exactly.
I think this book is an important piece of work however. The author has really put his experience out for others to see and in turn I believe it’s a story we need to hear and that will help others. As far as time within a memoir goes, this book has done a brilliant job with how the information is compiled and in keeping most things in a chronological and easy to follow manner. There are some editing mistakes such as the term “fitted” but nothing that would affect the overall work. The action in the book keeps the reader involved and moves the story forward although the monologue about the changes needed to the system could have been more specific and succinct.
In all, this is a memoir we should all take the chance to read especially those working with foster children, in the care systems, or mental health professionals. The only way we can stop these things is by people like the author speaking up and bringing these things to our attention. This isn’t something that should still be happening. My hope for the author is that this book has brought him healing, although I still detect some depression from his final chapter, and will help him to move forward in his life. From learning the author really didn’t have a good school experience and worked very hard later in life to get some basic education to seeing this final work shows the resiliency of what those who have had a rough life can accomplish if they believe in themselves and push to move forward.