The novella, Hello mum, was written by Bernardine Evaristo and published in 2010. It focuses on the life of fourteen-year-old Jerome, who is a teenage boy living in London council estate. Jerome has not had an easy life. He lives in a small flat and does not have a good relationship with his mother.
Jerome is fully aware that it is not her fault, but she does not understand what life on the streets is like when you live in that area. A teenage boy like him has no future prospects, and he is not doing well at school. Therefore he joins a gang to survive, a world where kids get beat up because they live in the wrong environment.
As JJ and Delmar talked nonsense - like boys do - he spotted Keith across the street.
Keith is JJ’s mom’s ex-boyfriend and he is the father of Shontelle. Shontelle is JJ’s little sister. Shontelle looks a lot like Keith - although she is a “cutie pie” as JJ refers to her. Keith has light skin, loose hair, and slanty eyes. JJ tells us about, when his mum gave Keith a key, to their flat.
She would act differently around Keith, than she did around JJ, as if anything was clever and funny. One minute she would have a go at Jerome, and the next she would lick Keith’s boots. JJ’s mum got beaten by Keith, he hurt her, even though she was pregnant with Shontelle.
Keith also picked Jerome up by his jacket, punched him twice in the stomach with his fist, and threw him down the stairs. This happened when Jerome was ten years old. His mom looks like an ordinary woman.
Jerome used to dream that Keith would die suddenly from a heart attack or something.