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Underclass: A Memoir

Underclass: A Memoir

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Dr Jessica Taylor grew up on a council estate where brutality and coercion were normalised, and where substance abuse was a day-to-day occurrence. Now one of the UK's most spirited advocates for women's rights, and a leading chartered psychologist helping women and girls subjected to violence and trauma, Jessica shares her own personal journey for the very first time.

Told through a series of absorbing vignettes spanning from her childhood days to gaining her PhD in forensic psychology, Underclass is a memoir about extraordinary strength, the complexities of belonging, and finding your power even when it feels as though the world is against you. Do you bend to fit in, or do you accept that you will always stand out? Do you run away from your roots, or love them for making you who you are? Do you fade into mediocrity, or do you change the world?

Taylor recounts with dark humour and unflinching detail the various lives she's lived, covering the violence suffered at the hands of her abusers, the realities of becoming a mother in her teenage years, coming to terms with her sexuality, putting herself through university, and overcoming underhand discrimination at work. She poignantly delves into both the classist and misogynistic double standards that she has faced throughout her life, whether she was waking up on a roundabout by the estate or chairing a parliamentary conference. You can take the girl out of the council estate, but you can't take the council estate out of the girl. Especially when it made her who she is today.

The result is deeply moving, searingly honest, horribly funny and, above all, unforgettable; a memoir that stays with you long after you've turned the last page.


Reviews of Underclass

Underclass is at times comedy and at times tragedy. Jess deserves good things - and this memoir shows it ― Will Hanrahan

Underclass is an exceptional book telling an incredible story. It's brilliant, and looks at essential social elements -- Luke Speed

I've just finished reading Underclass. It took me about 3 sittings. This is a book you binge read. You can't put it down. It's the most visceral book I've ever read. To explain a little, I grew up in and around Stoke on Trent, with a life reflected very much in this book. This book is not just important because it's important to me, it's important, period. If you are a woman, the book will be painfully relatable. If you are a working class woman, more so. If you are a working class woman who has entered middle class academia, it will burn you (in many ways both good and bad). It will imprint onto your soul. She weaves colourfully and intelligently through teen years, what it means to embody girlhood and womanhood and the class system that still controls 'Great' Britain. If you are someone who appreciates the fine art of balancing humour, realism and trauma, you will love it. You will love it no matter who you are, because there simply are not enough books out there like this. Jess has given us a gift -- Dr Liz Dalgarno

Underclass is more than a memoir; it's a testament to the power of one person's story to ignite change. Jess' unwavering determination and resilience leap off the pages, pushing readers to confront difficult truths and inspiring action. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking insight into the complexities of advocacy paired with experience and the enduring strength of the human spirit -- Dr Charlotte Proudman


Published: 2 May 2024 

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9781408716953
Number of pages: 224
Dimensions: 222 x 138 x 22 mm

Edition: Hardback First Edition 


This book is also available on Kindle and Audible from Amazon

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