The autobiography of an ex-offender and twice-times inmate of Barlinnie Prison, now a social work team-leader in his native Scotland. As a local hard case, author Allan Weaver took no prisoners. Neither does he in this compelling work in which he tells of violent episodes and his chaotic early life. Teachers, social workers and ‘authority figures’ never tried ‘to get to know him’ to unearth the clues and triggers and discover what his offending was all about. A natural rebel and a radical, it is hardly surprising that by ignoring the real Allan Weaver this led to an escalation of his violent activities, tensions between family and friends and dubious associates. So You Think You Know Me? is packed with contradictions: the Allan Weaver involved in mayhem and aggression is not the one telling the story from inside his own head: an often vulnerable, sensitive, articulate, unquestionably loyal and even-handed individual; mistaken, misguided and foolish perhaps but largely trapped by an increasing need to live up to his ‘tough guy’ reputation. That there can be any tidy ending to this graphic true-life account of approved school, assessment centres, care homes, borstal and Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie Prison is quite remarkable yet Allan Weaver survived to obtain a degree from Strathclyde University and to work on the inside of the Criminal Justice System with young people who, like he was, are in trouble with the law. The punches that he now throws are directed towards the shortcomings of a system which he believes is failing to do all that it could to turn them away from crime and anti-social behaviour as he explains in this heartfelt autobiography. Essential reading for anyone involved with serious young offenders, especially those of a violent disposition.
‘Despite all the tribulations he faced in his early life Weaver conveys his experiences with humour and affection. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be reminded of why they embarked on a career in the probation service’: Probation Journal
‘When Mr Weaver talks about the importance of tackling the causes of crime, he does so from an unusual position of authority and experience’: The Scotsman
‘There will be few who can match the range and depth of his understanding … Weaver tells his story with unflinching frankness. He does not glory in the life he lived, but takes the reader into a world where it could seem to be just a part of normality. Long-term prisoners are wont to speak of their lives as a journey. One puts down this book reminded of how very long that journey can be, of the distant, half-known country where it can have begun, of the price it can exact and the importance of nourishing hope’: Independent Monitor
‘A book that makes painful reading at times, painful to read of the damage that Allan Weaver caused to himself and others and their property, but also painful to read how structures often combined, some would say colluded, to take him further away from the person he could have been. But it is a book that helps us better understand Allan Weaver, and those like him, who, given a chance, can get away from their past and help build a better future’: Internet Law Book Reviews
External link: Allan Weaver’s website