'Australia's own Frank McCourt!' Sally Loane, ABC Radio
This is an important story that has long been neglected. We are familiar with stories of the stolen generation and the British child migrants, but there is a third group about whom very little has been written: their white Australian contemporaries who as a result of family breakdown, court orders or abandonment were institutionalised as children.
Kate Shayler (pseudonym) grew up a 'homes kid' in the fifties and sixties. Her memoir is more than just an account of her experience as an institutionalised white kid: it's a heartbreaking story of what happens to a child in the absence of emotional support and affection.
Far from being a litany of despair, Kate manages to weave into her journey of self-discovery a sense of community, camraderie, and humour of a childhood of sorts - a 'family' that she was forced to create for herself.
The Long Way Home: The Story of a Homes Kid will strike a chord with anyone who has ever suffered discrimination, insecurity or the pain of separation from family. It's a timely and profound reminder that every child deserves to be cherished and valued.