Harrowing tale of tragic loss

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My James: The Heartrending Story of James Bulger by His Father
Author: Ralph Bulger

AT JUST two and a half years old, James Bulger’s name and angelic face became known around the world for all the wrong reasons.
When this reviewer spotted the familiar face on the cover of a book dedicated to him by his father Ralph, it was hard to go past.
Now 20 years on from one of the most horrific crimes Britain and the world has ever seen, his father has penned his thoughts about the injustice of the system that he says failed his murdered son. He details the charges and the lives of the two 10-year-old boys who took away his son James – Jon Venables and Robert Thomspon.
Ralph openly talks about how he is not the “sharpest tool in the shed” so the flow of his tragic tale makes it a quick read.
But the darkness of the events that unfolded that day, and devastated his parents and wider family, is not lost in the simplicity of the words.
James’s short life features prominently in the book, from his mischevious, affectionate ways and his love of his cousins and uncles and aunties.
The little boy’s spirit is captured well in the early pages, before the worst unfolds. The most difficult parts of the book include the waiting game, those few hours before James was found, and the days following when the extent of his injuries are revealed.
Reading some reviews of the book reveals that there are some minor untruths presented by Ralph, who left his wife and James’ mother Denise, in the months after the murder.
There has also been some suggestion in the British press that Ralph has no relationship with his second son to Denise, Michael, even though Ralph talks about him in the book as one of his little rays of sunshine.
But James’s story is an important, harrowing read.
It’s hard to come to terms with the message in the book. Perhaps it’s to ensure that James is never forgotten, or how the justice system can be a cruel mistress, or how there was no point at all the day James was walked hand-in-hand by his killers away from his family forever.
– Danielle Galvin

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