| Book Review |
Nobody Heard Me Cry – P.A. Davies

 

An impressive, touching and heartbreaking story, based on true events and characters. Set in Manchester, this is Beth’s life story, a young woman who, despite seeing the dark side of life, manages to keep an undaunted spirit whilst staying true to herself. 

| Introduction | 

Beth remembers her ninth birthday most clearly, not because it was the best birthday she had but, we soon realise, because she does not need to cry at the end of it – that is heartbreaking.  A little girl happy with the party her mother arranged for her, who has a special friend, Niall. Beth’s mother laughs at Niall’s mother (behind her back!) for being a drunk. If only she could have foreseen the future… A little girl who has to keep secrets that are too big for her and too horrific to keep silent about. But Beth feels she has no choice – not if she wants to stay with her mother. Now a twenty-three year old young woman, Beth has become a prostitute working for a nasty character, Darren, nicknamed Tesco. Why would she let Darren, a heroin addict, control her life? And why does respected headmaster Douglas, who is attracted to Beth, jeopardise it all, his career, his life, his family?

| Storyline | 

Beth rejoices at the birthday party at how happy her mother looked and how safe she felt next to her. That night, she was safe but she knew the next day her stepfather, Ray, would return and once again she would put her face into her pillow so nobody would hear her cry. Next, we find ourselves on the Manchester streets with a grown-up Beth, waiting for the next customer to come along. How did she let herself be in such a situation with that ‘cockroach’ Darren (aka Tesco after the store he robbed the most) taking her money – ordering her to prostitute herself? Because perhaps once, in a past long gone, they had been .. lovers? We blame Darren for putting Beth through such a horrible ordeal – but, truth be told, is he not also a product of his upbringing? Once, Darren had a best friend now only a painful memory. Once, Darren had a (more or less) bright future now he is an ex-convict and a drug addict who feeds his habit with shoplifting and Beth’s prostitute earnings.

In a nearby car Douglas, headmaster and the epitome of stability and decency, is watching Beth while she reaches Inside the pockets of her jacket for two treasured things: a photo of her and her late father, having an ice cream, and a piece of paper, neatly folded. A poem she wrote when she was fourteen years old, the wording is unknown to us but this and the photograph are keeping Beth from despair and somehow, are able to preserve the little girl inside her who is loyal to her friends, who loves life and beliefs in magic. Douglas is about to take an action that will turn his life upside down and bring him into closer contact with dark Mancunian criminals who are violent and sadistic and never omit to punish their enemies or anyone who dares cross their path. We are witness to their behaviour and to how they feel invincible – how no one dares to open their mouth, let alone testify, against them for fear of brutal attacks on themselves and their family. As we find out more about their background of the characters in the book, we realise that nurture plays a significant role but also, that fate intervenes on more than one occasion. How that works out for our main characters – you will find out when you read the book.

| My Thoughts | 

This novel is based on true events and characters, although, for the purpose of this story, embedded in the author’s tale. I shudder to think what Beth lived through and how she had no one to turn to. Nobody heard her cry – nobody came to her rescue. She had to go through it all by herself and to live through all that and still keep faith in mankind, staying true to herself and loyal to her friends .. remarkable and touching. Just one more thing: I loved seeing George (George, a Gentleman of the Road, P.A. Davies, 2013) appear in a few scenes and was glad Beth had made his acquaintance, considered him a friend.

P.A. Davies harrowing novel deals with the fascinating topic of how you are influenced by what you experienced growing up and how it takes a strong character not to copy the (sometimes only) examples they know but follow their independent moral compass. How can personal responsibility apply when you have no idea, have never been taught, right from wrong? I find the topic of nature and nurture very intriguing and it shows the skill of the author that he does not just portray the ‘bad guy/woman’, but also gives us insight into how they became who they are. There are no black and whites, only shades of grey and, although it is very easy to judge others, we have no idea what makes others behave and act the way they do. This is what the author is showing us – there are no characteristic types in his novel but real-life people, each with their own, often tragic, story.

I loved the character of Beth, she is such a plucky girl who has seen the darkest side of mankind. Most remarkably, despite everything, she stays true to herself, almost never gives up her positiveness or looses her inner strength. I felt for her and could not help wondering why mankind can act so horribly, why children are not protected in our society. Not enough, anyway. In Nobody Heard Me Cry, the author is the narrator who uses a dark sarcasm to shine his light on everything that happens; it is his voice we hear in the description of the events we are witness to. This gives a certain edge to the story and, although I always like to form my own opinion, I must say that this made for an entertaining read, made me chuckle in spite of the feelings of anger, sadness and grief I experienced. The ending is so poignant, it is simply beautiful and makes you close the book with a wistful smile.

| About the Author |

P.A. Davies Author Image

P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel.

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

 

Check out my reviews for the author’s other books:
Absolution
Letterbox
George: a Gentleman of the Road

| Book Info | 

Buy from Amazon US Icon Buy from Amazon UK Icon

Paperback  578 pages
 Publisher  MJD Publishing (2nd Revised Edition,19 Dec. 2015)
 ISBN  978-0957263970
 eBook  8184 KB (19 June 2016)
 ASIN  B01GIBQ2K6

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