Book Review: Knocking On The Wall by Trevor Swistchew

Book Review: Knocking On The Wall by Trevor Swistchew

reviewed by Chris Richards.

Knocking on the Wall is the author’s recollections of childhood trauma, a lifetime of reactive, destructive behaviour, followed by reconciliation and reflection.  Peppered through the book are poems written in close regard of times in Trevor Swistchew’s life as he grew up in Scotland.  I worried about taking on this book due it being non-fiction, a memoir, and its focus on the author’s time in ‘care’ but having read it, I feel a pleasing compassion for Trevor. He made it. He is now using his time to do research and in making his own history known to the public hopes to improve support for those like himself who experienced it as it was, to help safeguard those to come, and change the system for the better.

It is written with honesty and as much accuracy as can be expected after a period of around 50 years with few official records remaining. Trevor’s specific recollections are shared plainly and without the intent to shock. Terrible, institutionally facilitated, abuse is alluded to but never explicit therefore maintaining the tone as conversive and broad. Those who know will find the allusions enough to inspire memories and those who don’t are left to imagine.

The writing is amateur but leaves the reader with the certain knowledge that those in positions of power over the care of children must be held to account. The book includes a list of organisations for support and guidance. This book was not written to be a best seller, it was begun as a therapeutic exercise and gives the impression of having exorcised some negative and harmful feeling. I’m glad Trevor asked me to read his work, my general compassion for humanity has increased and I welcome that, as everyone should.

Trevor Swistchew welcomes correspondence and offers his book free of charge for all who request it by email at

Independently published and available now on Amazon as an e-book or paperback.