Synopses & Reviews
Danny Ellis is a survivor, strong and resilient. A proclaimed singer-songwriter, he is proud of the way in which he handled his difficult past: poverty in the 1950s Dublin slums and the brutality of the notorious Artane Industrial School. He felt as though he had safely disposed of it all, until one night, while writing a powerful song that would launch his commendable album, 800 Voices
(A searing testament.” Irish Times
), Dannys past crept back to haunt him. Confronted by forgotten memories of betrayal and abandonment, he was stunned to discover that his eight-year-old self was still trapped in a world he thought he had left behind.
Although unnerved by his experience, Danny begins an arduous journey that leads him back to the streets of Dublin, to the tenement slums, and, ultimately, to the malice and innocent mischief of the Artane playground. What he discovers with each twist and turn of his odyssey will forever change his life. Included within are insightful photos of his early childhood, the ghostly halls of his orphanage, and his eager beginnings with music. Elegantly written, this is a brutally honest, often harrowing depiction of a young boys struggle to survive orphanage life, and stands as an inspiring testament to the healing power of music and love.
This is an incredibly brave book: shocking, and sometimes, despite everything, shockingly hilarious.” Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants
Like a true song, this story is finely crafted workmanship, unashamedly human with its pain and perplexity, yet unabashedly divine with grace and light and love woven into the tapestry beneath the tweed. . . . It is a treasure!” William Paul Young, author of The Shack
[Danny Ellis] moves fluidly between present and past, exploring a hard early life and its aftereffects with a mischievous tone.”
"A gifted writer, Ellis is effective at presenting abuse and neglect from the young boys perspective, without the elaboration of hindsight, the pathos of the memories only unraveling fully later. . . . Ellis is at his most poetic when writing about the power of music to protect and motivate him. . . . Filled with both winks and tears, this book proves that goodness can shine even in the ugliest places." Booklist
About the Author
, born in 1947 in Dublin, Ireland, is a singer-songwriter and author. He was sent to the Artane Industrial School in 1955 to 1963. As a professional trombonist, Ellis played with Irish showbands such as The Airchords, The Jim Farley Band, The Nevada Showband, Dickie Rocks Miami Showband, and Stage 2. In 2009, he released the album 800 Voices
based on his childhood in Dublin and Artane. He and his wife, Liz, currently live in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.