Book Review – Street Kid

Book: Stree Kid

Author: Judy Westwater

How would you deal with life if you were snatched away from your loved ones at the tender age of 2 by your own father who turns out to be a psychotic spiritualist?

Street kid is an epic and inspiring tale of a girl who is abused on a daily basis by her father and stepmother every second, every minute, every hour and yet survives against all odds into world that sets her free from her horrific past but will always remain a part of her nightmares.

The book is an eye-opener as it takes us into the horrific world of child abuse in ways unimaginable and the stubbornness of a child who refused to give up and swore to survive.

The narration has been done in the present tense with very strong characters with the vision of a child’s perspective. The various emotions that the author experiences through-out her childhood has been mentioned with profound clarity. The story in itself is disturbing but is one that needs to be told for the world to realize the horrors that exist which has been exponentially growing. The narration grows with the main character in age throughout the story. The main theme of the novel is child abuse which is a sensitive topic and I would suggest readers to narrate the story to their kids if they are too young to read such themes.

Street kid is set in a background of post-war poverty, treachery, deceit that unfortunately overpowers the strength of relationships where survival comes first by hook or crook. Judy’s determination to keep fighting for her survival eventually led to her freedom at the age of 17. For 15 years she steered a life of cruelty, slavery and domestic abuse never giving up on life to see a better tomorrow.

I personally believe that everyone is a product of their upbringing and somewhere in the course of line humans forgotten the difference between right and wrong. In this case, I would say what is humane and inhuman. I find it difficult to understand the mentality of Judy’s father and his actions against his own daughter. Apart from her own father’s hatred she also had to endure her step-mother’s hatred. The book was published in 2006 and Judy suffered all this in the 90’s. What kind of poverty or circumstance made two adults hate a child to an extent where she was treated with intense cruelty? All of us, who have had a sheltered childhood, find it impossible and unbelievable that such vindictiveness exists. The book is a simple tragic and heart-breaking story that will leave you aghast with a purpose of helping and reaching out to children in need.

Children learn from their parents and they are the best examples of an imitator. Since, Judy was a victim, rather than turning into a violent person she became quite the opposite and tried to help kids like herself and gave them a life worth living for. Majority of us assume that such atrocities don’t happen now which isn’t true. There are a thousand more Judies in the world whose desperate fights are about staying alive! For those of us who have seen a better and comforting childhood, the least we could do is help such kids if possible by being kind and compassionate, by spreading awareness, and by teaching our kids never to judge anyone.


Soujanya Padikkal

Soujanya is Hyderabadi Kannadiga with a M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics from Manipal University. She currently lives in Hyderabad. Photography, Traveling, Painting are a few of her hobbies apart from reading novels, which she loves!