Review of “Cattle Market”, a novelette by Steven M Hawley.

I recently had the privilege of beta reading “Cattle Market”, a novelette of approximately 38 pages, by the up and coming writer, and thoroughly nice guy, Steven M Hawley. He’s known on the writing forum circuit, and twittersphere, as “Potty” – you can follow him here:

I was particularly keen to read it, as Steven is a care worker, like myself. Cattle Market, whilst entirely fictitious, was inspired by his real life experiences in the industry. It follows the one man’s experiences in the sector through several decades, from the 1960s to present day. Times have changed, but have they changed enough?

It’s a timely release, following hot on the heels of Panorama’s undercover investigations broadcast just two weeks ago. If you work in the sector you will find yourself nodding, and frankly will likely be a little unnerved by how shocked you DON’T feel… We’ve all met the characters Hawley brings to life. I defy anyone who has worked in care for any length of time to not put a face from among their own colleagues (hopefully past, but probably present) to the domineering Amanda. If you don’t work in the sector you’ll no doubt find it a very uncomfortable read, yet it’s a subject we cannot shout too loud about.

I myself am fortunate enough to work in a small, homely establishment with an excellent team of carers who actually take the job title seriously (y’know, actually CARE). But too often this is not the experience of workers, or clients, in the industry.

Hawley has a passion for his subject matter that leaps off the page. The issues are close to his heart, and he doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths. It’s gritty, compelling and will take you on a rollercoaster ride as you share the victories and despairs of its protagonist, a young man trying to keep his humanity, and make a difference.

You can purchase Cattle Market Novelette here:

There’s no doubt it’s a damning indictment of Hawley’s own experiences in the care industry. But it also shows the hope among the darkness. The carers who work tirelessly with compassion to make a huge difference in the lives of those they support. Hawley speaks for them, and their voices need to be heard.

A Little Note:

If you’re reading this, or reading Cattle Market, and facing the prospect of needing to find care for a loved one, please don’t despair. There are many excellent establishments, and many more excellent care workers out there. If you find yourself worried about finding one, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll let you know what (in my humble opinion) you ought to be looking for when selecting a care provider. It’s worth noting that at the establishment I work for, over the years many of our clients have been relatives or friends of staff members. To my mind, that speaks volumes. If the staff (and let’s face it, they’re the ones who REALLY know what’s going on) feel happy to place their own loved ones there, then you can be sure the home is doing something right…