The novel Stone Cold which portrays a boys life on the streets starts with how he left home due to his views on his mums new boyfriend and clashes with him he heads down to London unprepared and ill-equipped for the experience . He finds a flat and spends two thirds of his money on two weeks, but gets turned out onto the streets, then he meets Ginger on his first night on the streets. Ginger then soon disappears along with several other homeless kids and they keep disappearing until Link becomes the target of the man called shelter.
Link wasn’t prepared for the dangers lying ahead of him, on his first night, “Nice watch. Gizzit. Link had never thought these situations would occur, but then how many other people who’d run away from home new the dangers ahead of them. Link underestimated the harsh conditions he was going to have to face, “You won’t sleep unless you’re dead drunk or zonked on the downers,” proving it’s impossible to sleep on a stone floor, and the fact that there going to be quite sensitive because they eat very little and can really feel the cold, “getting to sleep with cold feet is near impossible,”Link never thought of these situations he had no knowledge of the streets at all, without Ginger’s help he’d probably of been dead .
As well as the fact they were being constantly moved on every night by police so barely getting 5 hours sleep ,this means there bodies are going to take longer to repair as well as they’ll be very tired . Swindell’s portrayal of life on the streets is perfect due to accurateness and fine details . Living on the streets puts you at liability to a lot of punishment including violence, “there’s a psycho who’ll knife you for your pack. ” On the streets you’d encounter those situations daily with “Lager louts,”out to maim you.
You’re risking your life every second you’re on the streets. When Link tells Ginger about his watch Ginger replies, “that sort of thing can happen any night,” which proves that there are daily risks involved with being homeless. Swindell’s description of violence is disturbing yet accurate, however when Shelter gets involved it seems a bit over the top. You’d probably get 1 murder a day in London but not many people kill 7 and how does it fall prey to Link?
When Link comes to London he doesn’t really socialise much, and due to his lack of success at the DSS he can’t get a job. Then on his first night on the streets he meets Ginger and they become good friends. What are the chances you will meet a homeless person who actually wants to converse with you? None. Then after several disappearances Gail just happens to stumble on the scene and just meet Link, how could one person meet two generally nice homeless people it just doesn’t feel convincing enough . it feels planned.
Link’s credulous thought is his downfall, he never thought things through, sat down to think things over for example he saw one advertisement for a flat and took it, why didn’t he look for others? He is feeble minded. After being moved out of his flat when he rolls out his bedroll he’s arrogant enough to say, “I felt terrific, streetwise and tough. ” 5 minutes later he’s lost his watch and his doorway. Link could of lied to the DSS he didn’t think what they would ask, he didn’t prepare, he just went in. It’s to unrealistic that he didn’t say I was turned out of my home, Swindell’s mistake is he allows Link to make to many mistakes.
Overall Swindell’s portrayal of homelessness and life on the streets is superb apart from some flaws, he allows too many characters too get involved with Link, Link also has too many similarities with Ginger and Gail such as broken home, they are too nice you expect people on the streets to be tough, the novel lacks rivalry between Link and Ginger to create more suspense and tension which Swindell holds throughout the novel. Also Swindell allows Link to make too many obvious mistakes but apart from that Swindell makes you feel you’re beside Link throughout the novel creating questions and answers in your head.