The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Far From Home
A parallel volume to Doherty’s powerful 2009 story set in the 1860s around Jim Jarvis, Dr Barnado’s inspiration for the orphanages he set up. Now we discover what happened to Jim’s sisters Emily and Lizzie after he was separated from them. In Street Child we saw the girls left in the care of a friend, the cook at a lawyer’s house, but her kindness misfires and the girls are sent far away to work in a cotton mill. The cruelty of life there is vividly portrayed, before we see evidence of the philanthropy which also existed in Victorian England.
Less realistic than Street Child, its resolution being rather far-fetched, nevertheless this novel paints a vivid picture of nineteenth-century child labour.