My James - Ralph Bulger

Reading Challenge Category: Book club April read

Official Blurb:

James Bulger was just a few weeks shy of his third birthday when, on 12 February 1993, he wandered away from his mum Denise in a shopping mall in Bootle. Grainy images from a security camera showed him trustingly holding the hand of ten-year-old Jon Venables as they walked away. Venables and his friend Robert Thompson murdered James, in a crime that shocked the world.
In this haunting book, James' father Ralph Bulger describes how his world fell apart in the days that followed. In his darkest hours he drank to numb the pain, and the stress tore his marriage apart. He tells how he learned to cope with his grief, but the sorrow of James' death has never left him. In My James he discusses the long legal battle to see justice for his son. Above all, he pays tribute to his son, an adorable, cheeky boy whose bright smile brought joy to his family's lives.

My Thoughts:

My James, written by Ralph Bulger, is a harrowing and emotionally charged account of the tragic murder of two-year-old James Bulger by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. I found the book deeply disturbing, and it left me feeling uneasy, but at the same time, I felt like I owed it to the author, James’s father, to grit and bear it as my pain in reading this is nothing compared to what he and his family went through.
Despite having some prior knowledge of the case, I was not fully prepared for the level of detail presented in the book. It is a distressing read, and I would caution readers who may be sensitive to graphic descriptions.
What struck me the most, however, was the blatant failure of the legal system to deliver justice for James and his family. Monsters were treated as victims because of their age, and it is truly sickening to think that these evil individuals were given the freedom to enjoy their lives while James was robbed of his.
While the book provides an insight into the family's perspective and the impact of James's murder, I would be interested to read the story from the mother's perspective. She was missed from the later story and encounters due to the breakdown of the marriage.
Overall, My James is a poignant and eye-opening book, but it is not for everyone. The graphic descriptions of the murder and the subsequent legal proceedings may be too intense for some readers. This was my book club’s read for this month; however, we have changed our minds as some members were not keen to read such an atrocity.
Nonetheless, I would recommend this book to those who want to understand better the case and its impact on James’s family. I’m glad I persevered with the book and gave it the time it deserved. It was truly heartbreaking!

My James
by Ralph Bulger
Date Started
18th April 2023
Date Finished
21st April 2023