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The Louder I Will Sing: A story of racism, riots and redemption: Winner of the 2020 Costa Biography Award

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What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for? On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old L What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for? On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in horror as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted. But for Lee, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother's carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame - for justice, for peace, for change - kept him going. The Louder I Will Sing is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young Black man. It's a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.


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What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for? On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old L What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for? On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in horror as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted. But for Lee, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother's carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame - for justice, for peace, for change - kept him going. The Louder I Will Sing is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young Black man. It's a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.

30 review for The Louder I Will Sing: A story of racism, riots and redemption: Winner of the 2020 Costa Biography Award

  1. 5 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    I found this book so moving, I knew a little about the case and a bit more about the riots , but this account, the story of Lee and his mother Cherry and everything they went through brings the true face and emotions to the time and events. I learned so much more from this than I ever learnt from school or text books. This is a powerful read, heartbreaking and shows how long the journey towards any kind of justice is, even when still fighting for it. An interesting and moving must read, for your I found this book so moving, I knew a little about the case and a bit more about the riots , but this account, the story of Lee and his mother Cherry and everything they went through brings the true face and emotions to the time and events. I learned so much more from this than I ever learnt from school or text books. This is a powerful read, heartbreaking and shows how long the journey towards any kind of justice is, even when still fighting for it. An interesting and moving must read, for your own education Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This is not an easy read but nor should it be. Lee Lawrence has written not only a powerful memoir but highlighted the institutionalised racism engrained into British society. Although this book tells of a truly heartbreaking experience, Lawrence's determination for justice and faith in the goodness of people is inspiring. This is not an easy read but nor should it be. Lee Lawrence has written not only a powerful memoir but highlighted the institutionalised racism engrained into British society. Although this book tells of a truly heartbreaking experience, Lawrence's determination for justice and faith in the goodness of people is inspiring.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie (readingwithkt)

    "The more you refuse to hear my voice, the louder I will sing." The Louder I Will Sing tells the story of Lee Lawrence and his family's fight for justice after his mother, Cherry Groce was wrongfully shot during a police raid on their Brixton home on 28th September 1985. This memoir flits between "Before" and "After" the home invasion, which shattered Cherry Groce's spine, leaving her unable to walk again. It talks about their journey in search of justice and all of the hurdles that they had to ov "The more you refuse to hear my voice, the louder I will sing." The Louder I Will Sing tells the story of Lee Lawrence and his family's fight for justice after his mother, Cherry Groce was wrongfully shot during a police raid on their Brixton home on 28th September 1985. This memoir flits between "Before" and "After" the home invasion, which shattered Cherry Groce's spine, leaving her unable to walk again. It talks about their journey in search of justice and all of the hurdles that they had to overcome along the way. One point Lawrence makes really stood out to me: "How many other people have wasted chances because they didn't know the right person to explain that the chance exists?" In my opinion, in terms of the criminal justice system and a lot of these wider processes (such as inquests, which is the context within which this statement was made), there is a real lack of public awareness and information about how to navigate the process. This information gap disproportionately affects working-class communities and is, in my opinion, one way in which these systems should be reformed in order to achieve real justice. I really liked Lawrence's writing style: it was straightforward and accessible. His writer's voice is so distinct that I felt like I was listening to him speak his story aloud (though I was reading the e-book). To close off the book, Lawrence shares some statistics and information about policing today: how it has changed and what still needs to change. I really appreciated this as I think it gives the reader (esp. those with less knowledge of the system) some insight into just how much needs to change and how institutionalised racism has become embedded in the British police force. I also really appreciated Lawrence's appraisal of community policing and how essential that practice is. He also talks about his own advocacy roles and how he is trying to enact change in British policing, which I really respected and admired. The prologue, where Cherry Groce is dancing, had me close to tears right from the off. The same can be said for the epilogue, where she features again. The moments where Lawrence is talking about his new role as carer to his mother were also very moving. Though most of this book talks about policing and institutional racism, there are points at which poverty is discussed and Lawrence talks about his own experiences trying to make ends meet and trying to cope as a child dependent on his mother's benefits. Though written about the 1980s-1990s, so much of what Lawrence experienced then is still happening today and I think reading this in light of the UK Government's decision not to provide hungry kids with free school meals over the half term and Christmas holidays just made this all the more devastating. The Louder I Will Sing is an excellent non-fiction book and one I would highly recommend to others. It is accessible, personal, well researched and extremely moving. Thank you for sharing your story, Lee Lawrence. Content warnings: police brutality, racism, drugs, weaponry.

  4. 4 out of 5

    rina dunn

    I always feel a tad awkward/uncomfortable reviewing books that are memoirs/autobiographical, like heres little old me come to share my opinion on what has been your life or at least the experiences that have played a huge part in it. I do try and review fairly though and feel its important to share others stories especially when they are as important as this one. Firstly and I say it first just incase you don't make it to the end of this review but If I can influence anyone to read a book then i I always feel a tad awkward/uncomfortable reviewing books that are memoirs/autobiographical, like heres little old me come to share my opinion on what has been your life or at least the experiences that have played a huge part in it. I do try and review fairly though and feel its important to share others stories especially when they are as important as this one. Firstly and I say it first just incase you don't make it to the end of this review but If I can influence anyone to read a book then it should be this one. Lee Lawrence was an 11 year old boy when he saw a police officer shoot his mother. I'm gonna let that sink in.... 11 years old. The same age as my eldest child. I remember looking across at her whilst reading one day and thinking she is the same age as Lee when his Mother was shot. Shot by an authority that is meant to serve and protect. It broke me. The image of a child watching his mother hurt and not able to go to her. Its something most adults wouldn't be able to face let alone an 11 year old child. Cherry Groce was asleep with her family when the police raided her house looking for Michael Groce who was allegedy involved in an incident and was thought to be residing at Normandy Road where Cherry and her children lived. He didn't live there and wasn't present at the time of the raid. Cherry Groce was shot and paralysed from the waist down. She was shot wrongfully. She had committed no criminal offence and was an innocent civilian. Cherry Groce being shot sparked the Brixton uprising in 1985. This is Lee Lawrence's story on his long road to get justice for his mother. A story of resilience and love, of knowing that people even in authority need to be held accountable for the wrongdoing and pain they cause. The aftermath of caring for someone with such severe injuries and the impact it had on his life. From being a young boy to effectively having to grow up so quickly and take care of his Mum. This is absolutely without a doubt one of the most moving books I've ever read. Lee writes like an absolute dream and I can't imagine how much courage it must of taken to write this story. His words moved me to tears throughout and his love for his Mother couldn't of shone brighter. Its hard hitting and really opened my eyes to the struggle for justice and accountability within the system and the absolute disgusting racism that happens within the Met. I'm so thankful and honoured that I got to read Lee's story. It will stay with me forever and I will be recommending this book to everyone I know. There's a line in the book that says "The More You Refuse to Hear My Voice, The Louder I Will Sing" That beautiful line really sums up this amazing book perfectly. If you made it to the end of this review please buy this book and read it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louise (Louus_library)

    “Sing loudly enough and one day they will hear you” On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw build “Sing loudly enough and one day they will hear you” On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence's mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted. For Lee, this lit a flame that would burn for the next 29 years through his legal (and emotional) fight to get the police to be held accountable for their actions and to recognise the irreparable damage they caused to a mother and her family. This is one of those books that makes you shocked about events and history left out of the curriculum. Although I had heard of the Brixton ‘riots’ I hadn’t heard of this case. This book was heart-breaking, informative and incredibly interesting and switches between before and after the death of his mother which I really liked. It’s a powerful memoir about growing up in the UK as a young black man, and institutional racism that underlies the police force. Lee’s journey and fight for justice is both inspiring and frustrating because as the reader looking in you can see the injustices that occurred very clearly. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to educate themselves about race. The Postscript is also a must-read part of the book, as it talks about the evening of 25th May 2020 in Minneapolis where the police responded to a call where the shop assistant claimed a customer had nought a packet of cigarettes with a counterfeit bill. This customer in question was George Floyd. What happened next resulted in a unprecedented global response to police brutality and contributed to the ongoing debate about racism in our society. “It’s not enough to think things will just happen: we’ve got to keep applying the pressure to make sure that change is permanent” Thank you Net Galley and The Little, Brown Book Group UK for allowing me to read this advanced copy!! I will be buying a physical copy!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pipa

    This one was really, really hard to read. This is the memoir of Lee Lawrence, and his fight for the police to take accountability following an officer’s unlawful shooting of his unarmed mother, Cherry Grose, in their Brixton home in 1985. She ended up paraplegic and eventually died as a result of her injuries in 2011. I understand that this is about racial struggles more than anything and as a white person I don’t want to bleat about my own issues, but I think this one hit a particular nerve with This one was really, really hard to read. This is the memoir of Lee Lawrence, and his fight for the police to take accountability following an officer’s unlawful shooting of his unarmed mother, Cherry Grose, in their Brixton home in 1985. She ended up paraplegic and eventually died as a result of her injuries in 2011. I understand that this is about racial struggles more than anything and as a white person I don’t want to bleat about my own issues, but I think this one hit a particular nerve with me. Reading about Lee’s mum’s deteriorating health, paraplegia, lack of legal aid and the medical malpractice involved makes me reflect a lot about my Dad - who was rendered quadriplegic following an accident at work - and the legal and medical battles we fought and lost on his behalf. He died not long ago, also of kidney failure that was directly related to his injuries, and reading this brought a lot up. Especially when reading about the day to day impact on Cherry’s life; the little things that able-bodied people and those who have never had to care for the physically disabled take for granted. I felt so guilty about almost not finishing this - not only because I am a completionist and hate to leave books unfinished (no matter how awful they are) but because this is such an incredibly important book with such a powerful message about the nature and lived experiences of police brutality and racial struggles in the UK. I felt like thinking about my Dad whilst reading was just me white washing the narrative - making it about myself when the core struggle was racial - so I tried to focus even more than I usually would on reading more objectively, with the aim of further educating myself on becoming a better ally. However, personally and intimately knowing the pain of watching a parent deteriorate and then watching the system fail them brought back all the familiar heartbreak and anger. Overall, I am so glad that I ended up being able to finish it. Lawrence has some remarkable insights, not only regarding his own experiences but also related to the murders of Stephen Lawrence and George Floyd. I’d also recommend listening to the audiobook of this, as at the end there is a really illuminating interview.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thieving Magpie

    I can't believe I needed over a month to read this book. Normally, I am a very fast reader - but this book... This book is not an easy one to read and if I, as a white person says so, I can't even imagine how a Person of Colour must feel when reading this book. When we speak of racism, we think of the United States of America. The truth is, racism is not just a problem of the United States, but still present everywhere in the world. This book is a very good example of this. The book is divided in I can't believe I needed over a month to read this book. Normally, I am a very fast reader - but this book... This book is not an easy one to read and if I, as a white person says so, I can't even imagine how a Person of Colour must feel when reading this book. When we speak of racism, we think of the United States of America. The truth is, racism is not just a problem of the United States, but still present everywhere in the world. This book is a very good example of this. The book is divided in two parts - chapters which happened Before and chapters happening After. The event triggering the Before and After is the death of Lee's mother who had been shot by a police officer. In case anyone is wondering why this is such a big event - the author is black. So is his mother, who has been bound to a wheelchair after the shot. This is absolutely devastating to her, since she loved dancing. The books tells the story of the Before - the events before the shooting, the shooting itself and how the family dealt with it afterwards - and the After - after the mother's death, Lee goes to court because the bullet hadn't been able to be removed properly, eventually causing the mother's death. I am going to use her name from now on, because she wasn't just Lee Lawrence's mother. Her name was Cherry Groce. Her name was Cherry Groce and she was slowly murdered by a police officer. I couldn't read this book as fast as I usually do. I had to pause every other while because this book is intense. It's emotional. The thing that made me shiver the most was: "I can't breathe", words uttered by George Floyd earlier this year - but also words uttered years before by Cherry Groce when she was shot. Racism is not just a problem of the United States. Racism is everywhere and unless we do something about, it's not going to go away. Remember the victims. Remember their families. Do what you can to make sure racism isn't carried on to the next generations. I received a free ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This is a heart-breaking and an incredibly moving story of Lee Lawrence's fight for justice for his mother and rest of his family - a fight that took 29 years. He was just 11 when armed police officers broke into his house in South London at 7am and shot his mother, paralysing her from the chest down. This had monumental impact on his life, on his family's life and on his community - leading to 1985 Brixton riots that left many people injured. It's a story about racism in the UK, about grave mis This is a heart-breaking and an incredibly moving story of Lee Lawrence's fight for justice for his mother and rest of his family - a fight that took 29 years. He was just 11 when armed police officers broke into his house in South London at 7am and shot his mother, paralysing her from the chest down. This had monumental impact on his life, on his family's life and on his community - leading to 1985 Brixton riots that left many people injured. It's a story about racism in the UK, about grave mistakes made by MET that went unaccounted for decades and about a little boy growing up amidst it all in Brixton. When I finished the book, I went to Youtube to play the song by Labi Siffre 'Something Inside So Strong. ' The title of the book is based on one of the verses of the song: 'The more you refuse to hear my voice The louder I will sing'. This book was just like this song: beautiful, heart-breaking, and one that simply must be heard. The song does a spectacular job of communicating your feelings once you finish Lee's book. The higher you build your barriers The taller I become The further you take my rights away The faster I will run You can deny me You can decide to turn your face away No matter, cos there's Something inside so strong I know that I can make it Tho' you're doing me wrong, so wrong You thought that my pride was gone Oh no, something inside so strong Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong The more you refuse to hear my voice The louder I will sing You hide behind walls of Jericho Your lies will come tumbling Deny my place in time You squander wealth that's mine My light will shine so brightly It will blind you Cos there's Something inside so strong I know that I can make it Tho' you're doing me wrong, so wrong You thought that my pride was gone Oh no, something inside so strong Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong Brothers and sisters When they insist we're just not good enough When we know better Just look 'em in the eyes and say We're gonna do it anyway 2x

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lou Barber

    In 1985, Cherry Groce, mother of six, was shot by an armed policeman following a planned raid. The bullet fragments were shattered into her spine, and she was left paraplegic. Lee Lawrence, her son was 11 at the time, and he lost the vibrant Mum who was always dancing. He also lost his faith in the police, and became her carer, giving up his childhood to care for his beloved Mum. In 2011, his Mum died. When a doctor requests a post mortem be carried out, this is the start of a long journey to so In 1985, Cherry Groce, mother of six, was shot by an armed policeman following a planned raid. The bullet fragments were shattered into her spine, and she was left paraplegic. Lee Lawrence, her son was 11 at the time, and he lost the vibrant Mum who was always dancing. He also lost his faith in the police, and became her carer, giving up his childhood to care for his beloved Mum. In 2011, his Mum died. When a doctor requests a post mortem be carried out, this is the start of a long journey to some kind of justice for her death, as well as the battle of his life. Divided into before and after, Lee talks about his experiences of growing up as a young, Black man in Brixton. The uprisings, the community support, the fear and racism he and so many others experienced at the hands of white people, including the police. Fighting to get answers he manages to secure legal aid, and representation, and gains access to a report carried out after the shooting. This showed massive failures in communication and intelligence, and the Met eventually accepted they had made fundamental errors that led to an innocent woman being shot. Lee goes on to sit on advisory boards to provide guidance for police forces when dealing with race. He qualifies as a mediator and believes firmly in restorative justice. This is an important book, detailing the reality of being Black, and just how much work there is still to be done, especially with the recent case of George Floyd in the U.S. It is exceptionally well written and whilst there is sadness, there is a lack of bitterness which is inspiring. Lee uses his experience to be a force for good, and that is the message that I took from this book. Bad experiences can either make us bitter, or better. A wonderful testament to his mother Cherry, and a man who goes on to live a successful and meaningful life despite real hardship and tragedy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teresa (tqlikesbooks)

    On 28th September 1985, Cherry Groce was shot by an armed policeman in her own home. The bullet fragments pressing into her spine were unable to be removed and she was left paraplegic. Her son, Lee Lawrence, was 11 at the time and witnessed the incident. It was only earlier this year that I had even heard about the Cherry Groce shooting and the resulting Brixton riots of 1985. In the UK, I think we have a tendency to willingly supress incidents of racism and injustice while condemning the same o On 28th September 1985, Cherry Groce was shot by an armed policeman in her own home. The bullet fragments pressing into her spine were unable to be removed and she was left paraplegic. Her son, Lee Lawrence, was 11 at the time and witnessed the incident. It was only earlier this year that I had even heard about the Cherry Groce shooting and the resulting Brixton riots of 1985. In the UK, I think we have a tendency to willingly supress incidents of racism and injustice while condemning the same of other countries. Stories like Lee's need to be heard now more than ever. In The Louder I Will Sing, we learn of Lee's experience growing up in Brixton as a young Black man, and of his life before and after he saw a policeman wrongly shoot his mother. We see his battle to have to police be held accountable for their actions that night and recognise the damage they wrought to the whole family. I found Lee's story very powerful, at times shocking and inspiring. It is both well-written and informative. This is a heart-breaking story of a man's fight for justice told with an ultimately hopeful tone. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to educate themselves about race and particularly experiences of growing up Black in Britain. Lee Lawrence's story is definitely one that deserves to be heard. "The more you refuse to hear my voice, the louder I will sing." *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. -------- Content warnings: police brutality, racism, death of a loved one, grief

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lu Etchells

    It struck me that, at the time of her shooting, Cherry was lying on the ground shouting, “I can’t breathe”. Words we have, sadly, heard another individual say only a few months ago. The incident might have been different, as was the country involved; however, it’s clear to see that the underlying issues are pathetically the same. It’s 35 years since Cherry Groce was shot, and yet as a global society we’re no further along in terms of removing institutional racism. This book not only looks at Cher It struck me that, at the time of her shooting, Cherry was lying on the ground shouting, “I can’t breathe”. Words we have, sadly, heard another individual say only a few months ago. The incident might have been different, as was the country involved; however, it’s clear to see that the underlying issues are pathetically the same. It’s 35 years since Cherry Groce was shot, and yet as a global society we’re no further along in terms of removing institutional racism. This book not only looks at Cherry’s family and the impact her shooting, and resultant disability had on them all, but at the wider politics of the time. It shows how slowly the wheels of justice can move, and how important acknowledging wrongs really is. This is a well written, and informative read. If, like me, you had no idea who Cherry Groce was, I strongly suggest you get your hands on this book now. The Stars A strong 4 stars. Lee has done a brilliant job of blending fact with personal memories and opinion, to make this a moving and inspiring read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Not my usual fare and I expected this to be a tough read and much more full of righteous anger and contemporary angst than it actually is. I'm old enough to remember the Brixton riot of 1985 and the name of Cherry Groce is very familiar to me. But of course I've never known the full story of the police raid and shooting or of Cherry Groce's life subsequently until her death in 2011. Probably nobody has. This memoir by her son Lee Lawrence tells the whole story through from his own childhood unti Not my usual fare and I expected this to be a tough read and much more full of righteous anger and contemporary angst than it actually is. I'm old enough to remember the Brixton riot of 1985 and the name of Cherry Groce is very familiar to me. But of course I've never known the full story of the police raid and shooting or of Cherry Groce's life subsequently until her death in 2011. Probably nobody has. This memoir by her son Lee Lawrence tells the whole story through from his own childhood until her death and the family's recent success in wringing an apology and damages from the police, 30 years on. It's a beautifully written, inspiring read. And in many ways it's really the story of Lee Lawrence himself, whose own chosen path, as his mums carer has led him more recently to become a fighter for justice, better community relations and humanity. He is obviously a good sort. It's a book for the BLM era, and despite its ghastly subject matter, it ends on an optimistic note. Highly recommend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Merritt

    Cherry Groce loved music, she loved to cook and above all, she loved and cared for her children. Cherry Groce was also shot by police in 1985 in an unnecessary police raid which left her paralysed and ultimately led to her premature death. In his powerfully moving and heart-breaking memoir, “The Louder I will Sing”, Lee Lawrence tells the story of his family and the lasting impact that this terrible incident had for them. He tells an important story, which shockingly few people are really aware a Cherry Groce loved music, she loved to cook and above all, she loved and cared for her children. Cherry Groce was also shot by police in 1985 in an unnecessary police raid which left her paralysed and ultimately led to her premature death. In his powerfully moving and heart-breaking memoir, “The Louder I will Sing”, Lee Lawrence tells the story of his family and the lasting impact that this terrible incident had for them. He tells an important story, which shockingly few people are really aware about but that is a key part of British history and should be more broadly taught and learned from. Lawrence shares a deeply intimate and personal account of his family’s life both before and after the shooting. He tells the story of a woman who would give anything to look after her family. A woman who in the end, gave her life to protect them. For anyone who might think that racism, both on a personal level and on an institutional level, isn’t a UK issue, I seriously recommend that you read this book. It’s not an easy read, but it’s one that we all need to read, we need to take in and we need to learn from. Lee Lawrence is an incredibly inspiring man, who from a situation so heart-breaking and traumatic, and in spite of so many barriers, managed to pursue justice for his mother whilst also fighting for a change in society in the hope that others might not have to go through the same.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Drake

    I can't stop thinking about how Lee Lawrence was just 11 years old when police burst into his home in a catastrophically bungled and inept armed raid and gunned down his mother, leaving her paralysed for life, with her injuries ultimately causing her death decades later. The event sparked the Brixton Riots of 1985. The appalling violence could have easily broken him. But instead, his love for his mother - the music-loving dancer now confined to hospital beds and a wheelchair - saw him care for h I can't stop thinking about how Lee Lawrence was just 11 years old when police burst into his home in a catastrophically bungled and inept armed raid and gunned down his mother, leaving her paralysed for life, with her injuries ultimately causing her death decades later. The event sparked the Brixton Riots of 1985. The appalling violence could have easily broken him. But instead, his love for his mother - the music-loving dancer now confined to hospital beds and a wheelchair - saw him care for her for decades, not only in a practical sense but also by spearheading a clear-eyed and righteous campaign for justice, against all the odds. Lawrence bottled and channelled his anger to seek truth and recognition for the terrible mistakes, injustice and racism that cut so destructively through his family. The image of Lee on the cover of this book brings home just how young he was when his world was shattered. His mum's words as she lay bleeding on the floor of their home are familiar and chillingly relevant today: "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Booklovingscotsman RS Green

    It’s a heart wrenching, eye-opening memoir about institutional racism and is incredibly revealing. It’s honest, tense and full of information regarding things that I didn’t know about the 80s race riots and the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry. This isn’t an enjoyable book due to the subject matter but neither does that book have a writer’s flair and skill that other memoirs I’ve read have. It’s definitely recommended but I couldn’t give it 5* as I feel that would be condescending and not judging the boo It’s a heart wrenching, eye-opening memoir about institutional racism and is incredibly revealing. It’s honest, tense and full of information regarding things that I didn’t know about the 80s race riots and the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry. This isn’t an enjoyable book due to the subject matter but neither does that book have a writer’s flair and skill that other memoirs I’ve read have. It’s definitely recommended but I couldn’t give it 5* as I feel that would be condescending and not judging the book as a piece of writing and its skill. I was stunned, confounded and shocked by what I read but as a white, Scottish, male I’m not sure how much I can truly understand.....maybe that’s why we need to read though.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is a brilliant memoir by the son of Cherry Groce of his childhood before and after his mum was shot by a Met police officer in 1985 and of his fight for justice after her death in 2011. It is compelling, deeply moving, inspiring and accessible. I read it cover to cover in one afternoon. It is at once an evocative and relatable story of life for kids and teens in the 80s and 90s and a profound study of structural racism in the British police and judicial system. Most of all it is a tribute t This is a brilliant memoir by the son of Cherry Groce of his childhood before and after his mum was shot by a Met police officer in 1985 and of his fight for justice after her death in 2011. It is compelling, deeply moving, inspiring and accessible. I read it cover to cover in one afternoon. It is at once an evocative and relatable story of life for kids and teens in the 80s and 90s and a profound study of structural racism in the British police and judicial system. Most of all it is a tribute to a wonderfully strong woman and to her amazing son who had to fight so hard within the system to get the recognition, apology and justice his family deserved. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ellen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this is definitely a book that everyone should read. what we forget about racism before the 2000s are the victims. stephen lawrence and mark duggan are the names we remember most, and unfortunately not cherry groce. but her story and the amount of time it took for justice and accountability should make her more well-known. reading this book, and seeing that the ending was a happy one brought me joy – because i know that there are so many unhappy endings, even today when we are 40+ years later. t this is definitely a book that everyone should read. what we forget about racism before the 2000s are the victims. stephen lawrence and mark duggan are the names we remember most, and unfortunately not cherry groce. but her story and the amount of time it took for justice and accountability should make her more well-known. reading this book, and seeing that the ending was a happy one brought me joy – because i know that there are so many unhappy endings, even today when we are 40+ years later. thank you lee for sharing your story, and even though i didn’t know you or your mother i am certain that she is ever so proud of you. her name will always live on because of you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    This an amazing story about Cherry Groce, the black woman who was shot by the police during a bungled raid in the 1980s. This event spearheaded the Brixton riots. The culmination of continued harassment by the black community by the police in the UK . Lee powerfully narates her story and the aftermath of these events, the impact on her and her family. Also, the family's fight to get justice. The title is taken from a Labi Sifre song. When you read this story you can hear Lee's voice. The catalogue This an amazing story about Cherry Groce, the black woman who was shot by the police during a bungled raid in the 1980s. This event spearheaded the Brixton riots. The culmination of continued harassment by the black community by the police in the UK . Lee powerfully narates her story and the aftermath of these events, the impact on her and her family. Also, the family's fight to get justice. The title is taken from a Labi Sifre song. When you read this story you can hear Lee's voice. The catalogue of mistakes will stagger many and arouse anger. Lee's resilience holds strong and is a positive force. A must read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Henderson

    I bought this book, not knowing anything about the case. I can't believe I am 30 and did not know anything about this terrible incident its aftermath!!! I think this history should be taught in schools!!! I found this book heartbreaking, and incredibly fascinating. Hearing about how hard Lee and the Lawrence family had to work in order to get justice for their mother is shocking!!! It angered me that this happened at all, and it angered me that I didn't know about the incident in the first place. I bought this book, not knowing anything about the case. I can't believe I am 30 and did not know anything about this terrible incident its aftermath!!! I think this history should be taught in schools!!! I found this book heartbreaking, and incredibly fascinating. Hearing about how hard Lee and the Lawrence family had to work in order to get justice for their mother is shocking!!! It angered me that this happened at all, and it angered me that I didn't know about the incident in the first place. I am so pleased I have read this, and I will be recommending this book to everyone!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    I was in the middle of this book when the verdict came in for the policeman in the Kenosha,WI shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot seven times in the back and was paralyzed. Louder is the story of Lee Lawrence’s mother who was shot in the 1980s by British police that raided her house. She was innocent of any crime and she was paralyzed. This is an important book that made me want scream about injustice. The obvious parallels to today in America are striking. When will being black stop being a I was in the middle of this book when the verdict came in for the policeman in the Kenosha,WI shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot seven times in the back and was paralyzed. Louder is the story of Lee Lawrence’s mother who was shot in the 1980s by British police that raided her house. She was innocent of any crime and she was paralyzed. This is an important book that made me want scream about injustice. The obvious parallels to today in America are striking. When will being black stop being a crime?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    Wow, this is such an inspiring and important story. Beautifully written with events separated into before and after the author's 11 year old self witnesses his mother shot by armed police in his home. The devastating chain of events that follow are shocking, and the way Lee Lawrence has turned his experience around to impact real change is so inspiring. This was a great read! Wow, this is such an inspiring and important story. Beautifully written with events separated into before and after the author's 11 year old self witnesses his mother shot by armed police in his home. The devastating chain of events that follow are shocking, and the way Lee Lawrence has turned his experience around to impact real change is so inspiring. This was a great read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louise Prescott

    Wow what a book to read the story of Cherry Groce was heartbreaking the impact that it had on her son Lee & the rest of her family was devastating. I had heard of the Brixton riots but never knew the story behind it. For those that want to know more about British history this is a must read such an inspiring story

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma Wood

    The Louder I Will Sing is less like reading a book, and more like bearing witness to a life - both Lee’s and his mum Cherry’s. Lee effortlessly weaves together the past and present, moving from one to the other throughout the book in a way that makes it feel like you’re in deep conversation with a friend. Beautiful, emotional and above all, honest.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    A moving and ultimately uplifting account by Cherry Groce's son of the events surrounding his mother's shooting and ultimate death. I remember the event and its context in 1980s London but his perspective really brings home the determination needed to change entrenched institutional shortcomings. A moving and ultimately uplifting account by Cherry Groce's son of the events surrounding his mother's shooting and ultimate death. I remember the event and its context in 1980s London but his perspective really brings home the determination needed to change entrenched institutional shortcomings.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen Chau

    This book is totally prescient for our times - the voice that comes through this memoir is clear and engaging. Highlights the power disparities that lead to the racial issues that we continue to face today, and nicely interacts and intersects with other themes such as disability.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Berrie

    This is a beautiful book in many ways as the love Lee Lawrence has for his Mum & family shine throughout it. The darker side is the institutional racism of the British Police, that hasn’t changed enough since 1985.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)

    An urgent and moving account of a son's quest for justice for his Mother who was paralysed following a police raid on their home in Brixton. An urgent and moving account of a son's quest for justice for his Mother who was paralysed following a police raid on their home in Brixton.

  28. 5 out of 5

    TBHONEST

    The Louder I Will Sing is emotive, inspiring and enraging all at the same time. Lees fight is one everyone should be aware of. This is a book that needs to be included on school reading lists.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

    Brilliant. Such a powerful, emotional, enraging and hopeful book. Beautiful tribute to his mum Cherry Groce. Would thoroughly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Antonucci

    A beautifully written book.

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