I'm not going to go into the personal story of Mark Lawson, all I will say is that is seemed obvious to me that he had been through some of the emotions evident throughout this book. If you want to read more about him then, though I'm somewhat reluctant to say it after reading this, just Google him.

So, now on to the book - The Allegations. I really liked it. It felt like an author who knew what he was talking about, and had a clear idea of where the narrative was going. Though, and I hope I'm not giving too much away, I didn't particularly like the entry into the television programme towards the end of the book. That felt, though not unlikely, a bit of a questionable decision - but then maybe it was fame that drove the character and not the dissemination of his subject. I don't know, it just felt a bit of a let-down! Anyway...

I thought the book was an interesting insight into the effects such allegations have on the accused and those surrounding them. Obviously as members of the public in these sorts of stories, we only see the allegations as they are presented to us by the media, and so it is easy to jump to conclusions and to convict people before we know the real truth. Though I suppose, that is a natural response for some people; it doesn't mean that it's right to do so.

Of course we're presented with references to well-known cases from recent years (Savile naturally cropping up), which clearly resonates with us as readers. It throws up interesting questions about the premise of innocent until proven guilty. I wonder actually how, I don't mean relevant because obviously innocent until guilty is the tenet of English law - but how difficult it is with the trial by media that seems to happen today. We, I believe quite rightly, protect the names/identity of the victim; but what about those who are accused of such heinous crimes? How hard it must be to live a life with these allegations hanging over not just their head, but the heads of their family and friends. As Lawson says it is no longer a case of unproven allegations being a case of yesterday's newspaper, today's fish paper - the internet has surely put a stop to that. Even those found innocent still have this label attached to them. That said, here I don't feel like Ned was totally innocent, but maybe that was the point?

I found Tom's story much more easy to decide upon. Thankfully I'm no longer in education (though some might say I would benefit from it!) but the whole notion of students as "customers", in fact the jargon that occurs regularly in education irks me slightly. Naturally since the government decided in its infinite wisdom to charge young people for going to university, it sort of changed the dynamics - but students are students, there to learn not to be served. The whole ethos of UME though seemed eerily accurate; it's like making business people headteachers - it's just wrong to me. Since when did education become a career move rather than a vocation?

Anyway...I digress into one of my waffles...needless to say I was on Tom's side! I rather liked his pedantic manner and the fact that he was one of the 'naughty kids' in the back row at meetings. I mean, let's face it, meetings are dull and so anything you can do to liven them up or make them bearable is only natural as far as I'm concerned. I rather hoped that Tom and Claire managed to sue UME for the total kangaroo court of his dismissal; it was totally ridiculous.

I enjoyed the little excerpts from the texts that Ned and Tom read during their suspensions. Though not entirely necessary, they added an extra element of literary enjoyment for me, and didn't detract at all from the rest of the narrative. Now of course I feel totally unread!

I found The Allegations really enjoyable and actually it was funny, thought-provoking and quite intellectually stimulating. (Though the latter might be because I exist mainly on the horizon of Ben and Holly and Horrid Henry most of the time!) I would totally recommend giving this a read over the summer though, it's great.