- The Boy at the Gate: A Memoir
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- THE BOY AT THE GATE by Danny Ellis | Kirkus Reviews
This was a book that I will store in my heart. I do not like knowing of the horrors Danny lived in. But, it is out there.
His method of telling the story leaves me thinking there is much horror he did not tell. I am certainly happy that he has become a successful musician. I hope and pray for continued healing and restoration of mind and soul. I downloaded his music voices. It is lovely and haunting. We know something special. We know we have the band for shelter and music for a friend," leaves me with hope that he will continue on the path to healing.
It will be a lifetime process. Great story Mr. Thank you for sharing. January 10, - Published on Amazon. The Boy the Gate is, in a word, Brilliant! Not only is this book, flat out, a great read; it is also an incredible journey of a boy's struggle from sheer self preservation to self awareness.
With every sentence I was right there, drawn directly into the moment, beside this little scrapper of a boy. Bravo, Danny Ellis! April 30, - Published on Amazon. I found this book to be helpful in understanding more about children and abandonment. I was saddened that such a place as his institution existed so recently and especially that people might be as hungry as his family was in a country that is not third world. Emma Burstall. A Mother's Secret. Renita D'Silva. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts. Sleep Sister. The Child from Nowhere.
The Boy at the Gate: A Memoir
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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 05, Linda rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoir. At the age of eight, Danny Ellis was separated from his siblings and dropped off at the most notorious orphanage in Ireland. Some of the lyrics are interspersed in th At the age of eight, Danny Ellis was separated from his siblings and dropped off at the most notorious orphanage in Ireland. Some of the lyrics are interspersed in the memoir. The book is not a sad sack of tales, rather an introspective and often amusing look at bad times and colorful characters.
It is a story of resiliency. The book is written in present tense, transporting us to the rough city streets of s Dublin, returning occasionally and briefly to the grown-up Ellis musing in retrospect. The Irish brogue is sweet and strong, the language street-smart and salted to taste. The prologue alone is gripping, the writing evocative, rising above the grit and grey. A soul-satisfying epilogue and an overview of the orphanage history end the book. This is a tender, bruised story that will take you through the gate and back out with hope. Oct 08, Ross Martin rated it it was amazing Shelves: recommended.
The Boy at the Gate is a deeply personal memoir. It speaks to the lost child in every soul by channeling a boy's confused, innocent, desperate voice to convey the story, then weaving an adult's wisdom and perspective into the book to fill in the gaps and contemplate the life lessons that can be drawn from such a harrowing childhood. This review is not without bias: I consider its author, Danny Ellis , a friend--mostly because we share a common experience of having our personal journeys palpably af The Boy at the Gate is a deeply personal memoir.
This review is not without bias: I consider its author, Danny Ellis , a friend--mostly because we share a common experience of having our personal journeys palpably affected by the music and life of David Wilcox. We have only met on two occasions--once at a vocal workshop a couple of years ago and more recently at a house concert where I bought this book.
But Danny's open and gentle spirit makes it easy to feel he is your friend even after single meeting. He has also been in my house virtually on a number of occasions as he gave vocal lessons to my wife via Skype. The reading of this book helps me understand and appreciate more fully the depth of his insights into vocal technique through his decades-long study of the breath. I have given very few books five stars on Goodreads and I give this five-star review not because Danny is someone I know, but because The Boy at the Gate is an amazing example of memoir done right.
Were I to have done a similar review of the CD Voices on which this book was based, I would probably have given it a three- or four-star rating. Despite my affection for singer-songwriters and story songs, I never quite got into Danny's CD, though I loved the openness he displayed in sharing his songs about his experience of being abandoned by his "Ma" and left in the oppressive and abusive environs of the Artane Industrial School in Dublin, Ireland.
Now, having read his remarkable account, I look forward to revisiting that CD and taking those songs in with new appreciation. The Boy at the Gate is Danny's gentle and forgiving telling of what can only be described as a heart-wrenching, soul-crushing and physically abusive childhood. Danny grew up in a home of neglect in Dublin and then, in , was thrown into a Lord of the Flies world with more than other boys from ages six to sixteen.
The Artane Industrial School was even worse than being lost on an island with a bunch of boys because there was adult supervision - supervision in the form of severe physical abuse and emotional neglect handed down by a staff of just forty members of the Christian Brotherhood.
The abuses of Artane have been well documented by the Ryan Report.
THE BOY AT THE GATE by Danny Ellis | Kirkus Reviews
It is also the story of the redemptive power of music and how Danny was able to survive the trauma of the Artane prison by pouring himself into the Artane Boy's Band. Music keeps him grounded and gives him hope. Music gives him a constructive place to push his energy, his anger, his cries of anguish. Music gives him a future--something that many of the sixteen-year-old graduates of Artane were unable to find as the perverse social skills really, survival skills they developed on the desolate playground of Artane prove utterly ineffective outside the schoolyard walls.
I found many aspects of this book remarkable: Danny elegantly captures the voice of his little boy self. We see the streets of Dublin through his child eyes and hear it described through his voice of innocence in the truest sense of the word innocent. Even as he recounts his childhood criminal escapades of stealing food for himself and his two younger sisters and twin baby brothers, you understand how limited is his comprehension of the events he witnesses and the emotions he feels.
Danny effectively moves back and forth between his child voice and his own adult voice as he tells the story of how these experiences ultimately unleash a torrent of emotions and memories that quickly take the form of a collection of songs--his Voices CD and, still later, this memoir. The echoes of that young voice resonate with the voice of his adult self and the co-mingling of these distinct voices is a tribute to Danny's gifts as a musician and arranger. That he is able to accomplish this same richness in prose--his second language--as in music is a thing to behold.
I broke my habit of night-time reading to finish the last 25 pages this morning. The closing revelations were truly surprising and moving. His Epilogue, Author's Notes and Acknowledgements appending this memoir were not afterthoughts; they complete the story by adding important context and perspective to the emotional portraits and landscapes he lovingly crafted in the prior pages. Those final pages also demonstrate the remarkable writing abilities of the adult-voiced Danny. The contrast of the early pages with the latter reminded me of experiencing a Monet retrospective; I was dutifully appreciative of Monet's impressionistic works, but came to see them on an entirely new level once I saw his earlier works that included lushly detailed paintings.
I was able to see that his Impressionism works, like Danny's childhood recollections, were not lazily slapped together, but were deeply artistic and telling communications of the essence of the captured moment. Perhaps what was most remarkable to me was the redemption he creates in the telling of it all. He leaves me wanting to be that same spirit--one who understands the human condition and stands ready to forgive and receive forgiveness from others and from myself. View 1 comment.
I loved this book. Writing through his child's eyes half a century later, musician and songwriter Danny Ellis relives the pains and joys of his early childhood in Dublin in the s, and his betrayal and abandonment at the age of eight to an orphanage, one that already has an ominous reputation among Dublin children: the Artane Industrial School for Boys, run by the Irish Christian Brothers.
Ellis's indomitable spirit is amazing, his story one of abuse and survival, of suffering and crushing di I loved this book. Ellis's indomitable spirit is amazing, his story one of abuse and survival, of suffering and crushing disappointment, but ameliorated by friendship and inner resources: a good heart, an eye for beauty, and a childlike faith. Music, which he discovers at Artane, becomes his saving grace and, not surprisingly, is also expressed in the lyrical quality of his writing.
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- The Boy at the Gate.
I would add that the language used by the boys at Artane is, well, realistic. While it lends authenticity to the narrative, some may find it offensive. But it does not prevent me from highly recommending this rich and deeply moving book. When your mother abandons you, your father is working in another country, and you've been thrown into an orphanage run by an order of Christian Brothers who are infamous for harsh treatment and abuse, you need something to hold onto.
Danny Ellis, a young Dublin lad, found that something in music, and it has served him well ever since. He learned to play trombone at the Artane Industrial School, and was good enough at it to make a living in various bands throughout Ireland.