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Synopsis for Novel 'Nurture' About People Helping People

Updated on March 23, 2017

Synopsi for 'Nurture' by Rob Watson


Nurture is a story about how much of a positive influence people can have on the life of another person. The story follows Shelly and Frankie who at the beginning of the story are both fifteen years old and growing up in Warrington in Northwest England. Shelly’s Mum has cancer and she dies early on in the story, what her mother and no one else knew was that Shelly’s mother’s boyfriend has been raping her frequently for almost two years. After her mother’s death Shelly is put into foster care and her mother’s boyfriend disappears from her life. Frankie’s Dad and older brother are in and out of prison because of violent crimes, whilst his mother is an alcoholic and drug addict who prostitutes herself. At the start of the story Frankie is already heading down a life of crime himself, particularly stealing cars, and he is also suffering from psychosis, hearing his Dad’s voice in his head.

Throughout the novel there is a chapter on Shelly, then a chapter on Frankie. In both their stories there is a split and two parallel dimensions play out. One dimension sees them get no help at all, whereas the other dimension sees them get help from a few individuals just when they need it most.

In the story strand when neither of them get help, the two of them end up as a couple in a violent relationship, when the meet through being part of the same gang. By that time Shelly has become a frequent user of tobacco, cannabis and in particular alcohol. She has also become extremely promiscuous including making some videos for sale, despite not enjoying sex. In her quiet moments she cries herself to sleep and cuts herself. The middle aged couple who foster her don’t make any effort to help, they acknowledge that they are only fostering for the money. For the last year of school Shelly only survives rather than thrives, constantly getting into trouble for lateness, lack of engagement in lessons and turning up for school hungover, under the influence of other drugs and still with make-up on from the previous night. She only avoids being expelled because of her schools great reluctance to expel anyone and that her behaviour doesn’t really disrupt any other pupils. Her GCSE grades are far below being fitting of her aptitude and she doesn’t go to college.

By the time he meets Shelly in that dimension, Frankie has been expelled from school for landing several punches on a teacher. He completed the last few months of his schooling at a pupil referral unit, and doesn’t manage to complete the final term their because of repeatedly fighting with other pupils and he doesn’t even sit his GCSE exams. Frankie continues to steal cars and starts to get involved in his Dad’s and older brother’s crimes. Not too long after getting together with Shelly he is in prison for assault and has impregnated Shelly with a baby he is happy to keep because he realises it will enable them to access some financial benefits.


In the story strand when they get help, both have a teacher that takes and interest in them and gives them someone to talk to. For Shelly she needs much more than that so getting a single male foster carer Liam who cares about her so much and helps her get through some incredibly difficult times, including reporting the rapes to the police, helps her get back onto a track she wants to be on. She also is helped by a youth worker at the local youth club and by joining the nearby hockey team. All this helps her focus properly on her school work and get outstanding GCSE results and into the college and the university she wants to study photography and follow her dreams.

Again in this dimension the two of them become a couple, this time meeting on a youth club project after finishing high school. By that time Frankie had been helped by one teacher at school, who gives him someone to talk to as well as showing him he doesn’t have to follow the same path as his Dad and his brother. She sorts out a mentor for him who also goes on to have a great influence on him. By the time he meets Shelly, Frankie has freed himself from his toxic home environment and has been fostered himself by a married couple who give him they safe home he greatly desired. In amongst all the chaos of his family life he managed to stay on track enough to get five GCSE passes to enable him to get to college.

In both strands the stay together as a couple and become parents, when they’ve received no help themselves they become horrific parents who abuse their own daughter. When they have been helped they become brilliant parents who raise a delightful young lady named after the youth worker who helped Shelly out.

As the title suggests this story is about how people can be a product of the people around them and that with the right support, help and positive influences people who seem to be too far down the wrong road can still find their right direction in life and live out their dreams.


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