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Harry's Troubled Life

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by Joshua Hartzenberg

Harry has an accident when he’s four years old. He is hit by a car and spends some time unconscious in a ditch. The accident leaves him brain-damaged. He has to learn everything all over again. It also leaves him with a bad temper.

Following the accident, Harry’s father leaves Harry’s mother and she finds another mate, Tom. Tom seems very nice at first but he turns out to be a "violent psychopath" who abuses Harry badly. Harry comes under the attention of Social Services but is badly let down.

As Harry gets older, he finds himself in various institutions. Eventually he meets Rosie in one of these institutions, a care home. She too has learning difficulties and suffers from epilepsy, a bout of which leaves her with a badly damaged leg.

Harry and Rosie marry and have a child, Lucy. They have problems with Social Services who wish to take the baby away, because of Harry’s past and temper.

They continue to have problems, with their own learning difficulties (Harry is prone to suicide attempts), with Harry’s mother, with Social Services, with antisocial behaviour from neighbouring children, etc. However, Harry has found God, still has his wife and child and is able, by the end of this book, to wax philosophical about life and to give advice on how to lead a good one.

This book feels very much like a therapeutic exercise for the author. The book is described as both a true story and a novel. I interpret it as basically true with name changes. It is a short book which, while not being a pleasant read, is an easy one. Harry, while blaming everything in his life on his accident and subsequent learning difficulties, and other people’s lack of help to him in his troubles, does not spare himself. His temper, occasional drunkenness, childhood waywardness and various suicide attempts, are all listed in detail. Harry comes across as not an easy character to live with.

However, he has made many efforts in his life and, at the end of the book, is married, a father, religious and holding down a job. I hope he doesn’t come to regret his decision to come off his hormone tablets because Pastor Robbie told him that God had a plan for him and God did not believe in tablets.

This book was instructional for me. I hope it was helpful for Harry (Joshua?) as I believe it was meant to be.


ISBN 08624 38691
Dinas, 2006
Retail price 5.95

Open Book

Review by Chris Williams