Catch Me Before I Fall by Rosie Childs
'By the time I was seven years old, I understood that we were neglected by my mother who was absent from the house most days and most nights. We rarely received a bath or a wash and I presumed that the fact that my skin was several shades darker than the other kids' in my street was all down to accumulated grime rather than because of my different ethnic origin.' Rosie Childs was the talk of her Liverpool council estate when she was born, because she was black. Her mother and her mother's husband were both white and from birth she was stigmatised for this proof of her mother's infidelity. Suffering neglect from her mother, a prostitute and alcoholic, Rosie was left in a bare, filthy council house to fend for herself and her siblings until, aged nine, she was placed in the care of an order of upright and often cruel nuns. She finally embarked on a settled life as a nanny and pre-school teacher, but she couldn't escape from herself and the black cloud of her childhood. After suffering a breakdown, Rosie was placed in a series of dehumanising psychiatric hospitals for years, until she was helped to remember the horrifying secret of the childhood she thought she had buried forever. Now, with support as Rosie Childs, she has moved on, and is truly happy at last.