I was honoured when Cash Carraway asked me to read her debut memoir, Skint Estate, ahead of publication. I’ve known Cash blogging for about five years, and have followed her journey in awe. From middle class Aga and Le Cruset living, to women’s refuges and mind blowing bullying on social media. Cash is, and has been, many things. Ultimately though, she’s a single mum, in broken Britain, trying to give her daughter the best possible life. Who can argue with that?
Skint Estate Review
Cards on the table: Skint Estate is not a book I would normally read. A lot of it is far too close for comfort for me. However, the way Cash writes, is nothing short of genius. Managing to find humour in the darkest crevices of the saddest stories, really is admirable. The notion that a book can take you from laughter to tears and everything in between, is thrown around little too often, in my opinion. However, where Skint Estate is concerned, this really is the case.
The book starts with the beginning of Cash’s journey as a mum. Pregnant with a black eye. We then follow the brutal rollercoaster which follows. 10,000 pregnant wanks to save up for a first home for her and the baby. By this she means working in a Soho peep show, whilst pregnant. At least there’s a stud wall between her and the wankers, right?
We hear about her being arrested for harassment by the baby’s father. Which essentially was just Cash trying to some maintenance out of him, for his own child. Isn’t it horrendous, that a mother gets arrested, yet the father gets off scot free? It’s a tale as old as the term child maintenance itself, but the injustice of it makes my blood boil. Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a single mother, and know only too well how unfair the system has always been.
The chapters on wife tourism were shocking and insightful. Explaining how a woman can go from having an Aga one minute, and living in a refuge the next. How she went from Insta-Influencer, promoting kids yoghurts, to working on chat lines and eating from food banks. Paying extortionate rent to a private landlord one day to being socially cleansed and moved to the back end of nowhere the next. Isolated from all her support lifelines.
Photo below is from Cash’s interview with Janice Turner at The Times.
Overall thoughts on Skint Estate
Cash’s writing is exquisite, as I knew it would be. Her storytelling skills are not just relatable and engaging, they veer from harrowing to hilarious in one fell swoop. Not many people are capable of that. There is absolutely no way you can read this book and not be touched by it. Dark memoirs almost always trigger memories from my own dysfunctional upbringing, which made Skint Estate a tough read for me. I certainly didn’t “devour” it, but I’m exceptionally glad I read it.
Never once does Cash come across as self-pitying, and the way she manages to weave vital information about government cuts is truly inspired. Most importantly of all, her love for her daughter shines through each and every chapter. I can absolutely see why she has been called the voice of a generation!
If I had to sum up Cash Carrway in one word it would be intractable. Wishing her every success with this incredible debut.