A Good Start, Considering

A Good Start, Considering is a novel by Peter Ryde.

As World War II comes to an end, an 11-year-old London boy, Alan Carey, has lost his father in action and his mother and elder brother in an air raid. His grandmother dies just before Alan starts grammar school and he is put into Barton, a children's home. The other children at the home have various emotional difficulties and the staff range from mean to vicious. Alan becomes the victim of physical abuse from Mr Wilkinson, who runs the home, and systematic sexual abuse from the sadistic Jacko, Mrs. Wilkinson's brother.

The abuse shames Alan and he cannot bring himself to tell anyone. He does try to contact a former teacher, but the teacher has moved away. Alan is a bright and sociable boy and good with his hands and he gets a job with an old man who has a small workshop next to the home. Alan also makes friends with Toddy Whitman at school and the Whitman family make Alan feel one of the family. Mike, Toddy's older teenage brother, is a homosexual and offers Alan love and affection when they go on a family holiday together to the coast. Back home, however, Toddy discovers Mike and Alan in bed together and Alan is banished from the Whitmans, who blame him for being the seducer. Alan is left to struggle on on his own, trying to cope with Jacko's abuse and he makes friends with Ocky (Oliver) at Barton. He finally learns that Ocky has also been abused by Jacko. The two boys become allies in the battle for survival and eventually Jacko is sent away.

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