About The Book
GHOST SIGNS is a blistering portrait, an eyewitness account of delivering essential food and medicines to the most deprived communities during the first months of the pandemic. This visceral piece of reportage is an essential document into the effects of COVID-19 and how it ripped apart the social fabric of this country after ten years of Austerity
I rarely read non fiction but when I saw this book had been published it was one that I felt I needed to read. I started to read it when another pandemic diaries that were being published were being mentioned a lot by the UK media. That was one that I definitely won’t be reading but it did remind me that I needed to read this account. More people should do the same so they can see what damage is being caused in many areas of the UK.
One of the strangest feelings when reading was the amount of things I had forgotten about the first lockdown. The eerie quiet roads, especially the motorways, the deserted town centres, windows full of posters thanking the NHS and the often shambolic efforts by government of which there are too many to mention. Each chapter in the book started with a reminder.
I don’t know Leeds that well but it didn’t matter. The people that needed help there are typical of anywhere. It was impossible to judge any of them, even though some appeared ungrateful. I just thought that they felt uncomfortable having to rely on food parcels.
There were many scenes that upset me ( usually on the bus) the family who needed baby products, the elderly who were terrified and countless others. And it was evident that what the author saw on a daily basis was starting to seriously affect him emotionally, leading to sleepless nights and an inability to discuss what he was experiencing.
It wasn’t just the hardship experienced by others that were revealed, there was also the impact on his family. The upset that his children felt over missing school and friends and the knock on problems that caused, especially to his wife who was working from home and having to keep them entertained.
One of the saddest emotions, weeks after finishing the book was that for many the situation will just be getting worse. A pandemic problem that has turned into a huge cost of living crisis.
Every politician, and anybody who can make a difference should read this account.
The photograph shown below was taken on Easter Sunday during the first lockdown. Usually an extremely busy section of the M6 in Lancashire.
2 Replies to “Ghost Signs by Stu Hennigan – Review.”
I read this recently and, like you, was very moved… and surprised at how much has been forgotten or swept under the carpet.
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My Dad was born in Harehills, when I told him about the book he said the area had changed since they lived there in the 1950s. And not in a good way.
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