The Orphan

A woman is found unconscious in the street with a severe head wound; she is also pregnant.
The woman gives birth to a son but later dies- her dying words was the Name Robin McNally- Police sergeant Bob Cole is out to get McNally a petty thief for murder but he manages to get off in court. The grand parents of the woman bring up the boy as their own. Jackie Boyle has an unusual talent- he has the ability to remember everything he see's. he can read a book in minutes and remember every word. Jackie watches his Grand Mother who he calls mam cooking and when she dies of a stroke is forced to cook and clean so that his father who is really his Grandfather; can go to work down the pit at Battlehill Colliery. The five year old does this until his father is killed in the pit rescuing his friends- Jackie is sent to Oakridge Children's Home where he suffered at the hands of the Matron and the nuns strict regime. The Orphan is a fast paced story that will leave you wanting to read more.


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Jackie closed the book when he had finished it. He sat back in his chair pleased the story had a happy ending. When Mrs Backhouse came for him at lunch time he brought her the book and gave it back to her.

“Did you like the story then Jackie?

“Yes; it was a fascinating story.

“Now this afternoon I would like you to write me a story; it can be about anything you like. “ Could you do that for me?

“Yes; but I will need a lot of paper.”

Don’t worry I have some A4 size lined pages for you.” let’s get some lunch first though.”

Mrs Backhouse showed Jackie where the dining hall was then asked him to sit at a table with other children his own age. She brought his dinner and pudding then left him to eat it but watched to see how Jackie interacted with children his own age.

“ Would Jackie have a conversation or would he be on an intellectually higher plain?

“One boy asked whose class he was in.

” I haven’t got a class; I sit in the hall.”

“Is that for naughty boys then?

“No’ it’s for special boys like me.”

“The boy shut up and finished his dinner.”

“One of the girls asked if he was playing shops after dinner.

We pretend to buy things made out of flour and water.

“I will let you be the shop keeper if you like.”

Alright then said Jackie; he ate his sponge and custard; then followed the girl out of the dining hall and into the school classroom because it was wet outside so they allowed the children inside.

The girl showed him the mini shop that had all the pretend goods in it.

My name is Jackie what do they call you?

“I’m Elizabeth;

“Can you read and write Elizabeth because when you go to the shops you have to have a list then the shop keeper reads the list then gets you you’re shopping. Look it’s like the one my dad wrote for me.

Jackie showed her the shopping list that his father had written for him.

Can you read?

“A little bit.”

“Right the first thing on the list is what?

Elizabeth sounded out the letters; B-R-E-A-D; that’s bread right?

“Yes’ that’s right now, what is this word?”

M-I-L-K “that’s milk.”

“Good; now I want you to copy the letters on the page.”

Elizabeth took the pencil

In her right hand and looked at the note then formed the letters to make the word.

“That’s it Elizabeth; now what is the word below milk?

“It’s a bigger word so just think of what it sounds like.”

P-O-T-A-T-O-E –S – it’s its Potatoes.”

“Good and what can you make from potatoes?


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