Catherine Cookson, prolific novelist who died in 1998 at the age of 92 wrote this autobiography in 1968. The "Our Kate" of the title is her mother. Cookson found out when she was 6 that her mother wasn't her sister as she been brought up to believe, and that she was illegitimate. She describes the hardships of her childhood growing up in extreme poverty in the industrial northeast of England. The harsh judgement of her family and community for having a child out of wedlock leads Cookson's mother to find solace in alcohol. Cookson describes the fear and loathing she felt about her mother's addiction. Intelligent and sensitive, Cookson works hard as a maid and in a laundry to make a decent life for herself. At the same time she strives for an education through reading. She describes her emotional breakdown in her forties, and how that led her to writing. This along with the support of her husband, helped her find peace with her past and her mother.
This report prepared by Susan Coffey