Poverty Safari

Review by: Jim Sullivan, 28/10/2019

We hear a lot about poverty - on the news, well-meaning feature articles - but we rarely hear from the people in the frontline. Perhaps we feel that they have little to say.

This is an insightful, personal and analytical account of poverty from a man who's been there, experienced the worst of poverty in modern Britain and somehow managed to come through it all. Inspirational? Some will be inspired, personally I found it something bigger - thought-provoking, fascinating, ruthlessly truthful.

Darren McGarvey - aka Loki - is a most unusual author. He starts off by telling us that he's never managed to finish reading a book, which adds to his surprise at managing to write one. With an opening like this the reader might have expected something basic, unfinished, maybe crude or uninspired. Quite the reverse - Poverty Safary takes a well-honed scalpel to modern Britain, slicing through layer after layer of tabloid simplification and politcal spin to paint a picture which is all the more disturbing for being clear-sighted.

Read this book. Read it to gain an insight into 21st century Britain. Read it and count your blessings. Perhaps the best reason to read any book - read it to become acquainted with a clear mind.

McGarvey is an unusual guide in so many ways - a Scottish rapper? Really? That's a thing? If he raps half as well as he writes, I really must head on up to Scotland and take in a gig - though, as he's currently rapper-in-residence for the Scottish Police Service I might need to misbehave in order to get the chance.

Loki writes with clarity and precision - the kind of clarity which can only come from hardcore honesty about one's own mind. He describes a descent into drug abuse and dependency on state machinery with a truthfulness and lack of self pity which lend immense power to his excoriating analysis of the way that our supposedly helpful systems actually sustain the cycle of poverty.

Read this book. Read it to gain an insight into 21st century Britain. Read it and count your blessings. Perhaps the best reason to read any book - read it to become acquainted with a clear mind.




Posted in: non-fiction