Crossing the Line, Young Women and the Law-Carol Brinkwater, Editor ***/*

Available at Collins
"I got involved with drugs and the wrong sort of people...Drugs are a vicious cricle. Once you're hooked, it's hard to get out"
"I stole twenty-four-and-a-half thousand pounds over a period of less than a year. I gave it to my boyfriend to stop him beating me. [When I told the police] it felt like such a I just want to get on with my life"

What is it like to find yourself in trouble with the law? How does it feel to have a mum or dad in prison? And what makes someone get involved in crime in the first place?
In Crossing the Line young women describe what it's really like to end up in trouble with the police. They talk about what led them to 'cross the line' and how that experience has changed their lives. Frank, witty, and often angry, these women offer and inside view of the life on the other side of the legal divide.
This was a very interesting and thought provoking book. While it is set in London, not all the girls are British, and they are all different. As Brinkwater states in the introduction, "you will notice...just how many of their lives have been touched by drugs".
For me, this does have the effect of sort of alienating me from the individuals, preventing me from empathising as I don't understand drug culture at all. But it doesn't prevent their stories from being just as sad, and despairing. There is a fair amount of talk of suicide, and overall the tone of the book is frank, without being overly pitying or sympathetic. They simply tell their stories.
It makes me afraid to have my own children, but it also makes me feel relieved that I never got caught up with the wrong crowd, which is seemingly for a lot of these young women how it all starts. Definitely worth a read, quite a slim volume (119 pgs) and each account is only 4 pages or so, so it can be picked up and put down with frequency.

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