Author(s): Helena Pastor
For too long, Helena, a mother of four boys, has allowed her eldest son to call the shots. Even though seventeen-year-old Joey - an early school leaver teetering on the wrong side of the tracks - no longer lives in the family home, she does his washing, cooks his meals, hands over money for his groceries, and spends her nights driving him around town with rap music shaking the car. Into Helena's troubled life comes charismatic youth worker Bernie Shakeshaft. After hearing Bernie speak on the radio about his successful youth welding project, Helena thinks she's found the answer for her son. Joey doesn't want to be involved but, in his place, Helena goes along to the welding shed. Over the next few years, she watches and learns as Bernie, using wisdom gained from Aboriginal elders during his time as a stockman in central Australia, teaches the young men involved to 'man up'. Through his unique methods, Bernie changes the lives of all those around him, including Helena, who transforms into the Mistress of Tough Love and begins to heal her relationship with her son. Wild Boys explores the challenge of disengaged youth from a mother's perspective and offers an intimate insight into rarely chronicled aspects of youth work.