What had seemed the answer to Tilly’s problems had now turned into her worst nightmare. A happily married mother-of-three, Tilly was not the stereotypical criminal – in fact, she’d barely warrant a second glance if passed in the street.
“No one will stop you, Tilly. You’re Mrs. Average. Why would anyone suspect you?”
She’d only wanted to protect her family. If your whole life was under threat, would you make the same decision?
Based on actual events and real-life diary entries, Tilly’s story shows how quickly life can turn…
First let me say how absolutely wonderful this brand new cover for From Highlights to Lowlifes by A J Chattoe and Jilly Clark is.
We open with a woman travelling home from her first trip to help get her family out of debt. She recalls how she has got to this point in her life
A fascinating true-life story of a woman, Tilly, who finds that her partner has been gambling and that they are in debt. The mortgage hasn’t been paid and they are at risk of loosing their home. Still she works out a plan which Jake agrees to. It seems to be working even though things are tight and it has meant cutting back on as much as possible. There is still a long way to go.
As it approaches Jakes birthday he tells Tilly they have been invited out for a meal by friends. Tilly has only briefly met one of the couples. It is with these friends that Jake started to get into gambling. Jake assures Tilly that it’s just the cost of a cab to the restaurant and home again. The meal is a birthday present so, as it’s his birthday, Tilly agrees.
However they go on after the meal to one of the couples home. Tilly is wary but persuaded. Jake, however, gets drunk and high and Tilly just wants to go home. Whilst waiting for a cab she tells one of the group about the debt. He says that he can help Tilly find a way out of the debt that she and her partner have got into.
It’s her first run and she gets caught!
We get a fascinating account of what happens to someone when they have been arrested and how they are processed through the British police custody and prison systems. The wait in prison for her trial and then to prison to serve her sentence.
We get Tilly’s account of what happens inside prison, how she copes, how difficult it is to keep sane, to make it through her sentence and what happens with her family relationships.
This was the process when someone actually admits what they have done which I feel was one of the good things about Tilly. She took responsibility even though the cause of the problem had been Jake. Yes, it was her decision to do this but she had not been the one to gamble and put the family into such a difficult position.
My feelings toward Tilly when reading the book moved back and forth between sympathy and annoyance or rather frustration. It seemed to me that the root cause was Jake – a rather weak character who was very dependent on others and, perhaps, chose the wrong friends but who could/would not take responsibility for his actions. Tilly took it all on her own shoulders which had hard consequences not only for herself but all her family. Her father and daughter shine out in this story – great folk to have on your side in such difficult times.
Tilly now gives talks to schools etc., she also clearly realised from her time in prison what the effects of drugs can do and that’s a great way to redress what she did.
This is a terrific book that can easily be used as a base, a tool for discussion on drugs, making choices, understanding your financial information, budgeting, relationships and the consequences of breaking the law amongst other life issues. These are things that are important and should be part of what all young people learn about in school.
Not necessarily an easy book to read at times but nonetheless it is an interesting, fascinating account of one woman’s story of debt and desperate attempt to help her family back to a better life. Mistaken, yes, but what would any of us do in those circumstances?
To Kelly and Megs at LoveBooksTours for the invite to the BlogTour for From Highlights and Lowlifes and to TWH Publishing for a copy of the book. I do not receive any payment for reviews.
Do check out the rest of the tour. You can find it on Twitter using #lovebooktours and on Instagram.
Published: TWH Publishing (30/10/2017)
TWH Publishing is the indie press/publishing arm of The Writing Hall, which is led by editor, writing coach and book consultant Diane Hall.
Buy: Hall Good Books £4.95
Jilly and Alyson are neighbours and good friends, and they’re based in West Yorkshire. Both are dog-lovers and ‘From Highlights to Lowlifes’ was largely created during their daily walks, based on Jilly’s experiences.
As an advocate of rehabilitation and bringing to light the UK justice system’s flaws, Jilly gives talks at schools, universities and various groups across the UK.
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