Book Jacket


rank 1051
word count 25802
date submitted 05.08.2010
date updated 27.08.2011
genres: Non-fiction, Harper True Life
classification: universal

My Father, My Monster

McIntosh Polela

When your father turns out to be your worst enemy, where do you go to find your home?


McIntosh first appeared as a journalist on South African television screens in the early 2000s. His talent singled him out from the crowd. Bright, articulate and charismatic, his career looked dazzling. But behind McIntosh’s smile, a troubled past haunted him. His mother had disappeared when he was just a little boy. He and his sister were left to be brutally abused, when his father disappeared too. What would have happened to McIntosh, if a compassionate nun hadn’t taken him under her wing?
Eventually, the truth of his parents’ disappearance is revealed. McIntosh is thrown completely off course. He keeps a brightly polished gun, for the day he meets his father. Not even his intense scholarship doing a Masters Degree at the London School of Economics, can fill his emptiness. My Father, My Monster is the story of his journey to uncover the truth. McIntosh has to confront his father about his mother’s brutal death. Soon, he comes face to face with the worst dilemma a son can ever have: How can he possibly forgive, when his father remains a remorseless, brutal and heartless murderer?

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dark, emotional, forgiveness, guilt, hate, inspiring

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siyaphiwa wrote 280 days ago

Salute to you Polela, what a story bro...

tshepi wrote 694 days ago

i tear a lot, but this is beyond tearing. It breaks my heart. As a single mother, who raised two kids of which one of them has turned against me with my mother behind her, I am heartbroken. I have a monster mother who I cried to when my son left to binge drugs the whole day, when my son owed the drug lords thousands of rands. When I shared with her, she then turned against me. She proclaimed my jealousy towards my son who is doing better than me because by now I am fighting a bitter and endless battle which my previous employer - unfair dismissal. I turned to be nothing but nonsense towards my mother because i cannot provide like my son. I feel hurtful when someone out there is crying for her/his mother. I DONT. I am better off without her. God forgive me.

Mlu Jnr wrote 933 days ago

it`s a miracle of some upraising and encouraging story! A story that touches and leaves the land tearing marks in my heart. This is an ever lasting regime of life, a controversy that will never die to the author nor to the reader! I love it, i love it and i love it.

kedibonye tsa lefatshe wrote 957 days ago

this book is so vivid and and discriptive...i also have to share my story of abuse with the world.silence only eats you the victim up!

strachan gordon wrote 1036 days ago

Hello McIntosh,I'msorry I haven't been in touch,I've had major problems uploading my book,would you be so kind as to take a look at the first chapter of my book and tell me what you think,its about Pirates in the 17th century,best wishes Strachan Gordon.

markwoodburn wrote 1076 days ago

As someone who lived in South Africa during the 1980's I found this fascinating. It brought back memories of the time and the atmosphere of the country. Obviously yours was a different situation from mine, a white immigrant schoolboy. But you have found the strength to put this all down in a coherant and moving manner. Starred, regards, Mark

strachan gordon wrote 1078 days ago

This is a very convincing evocation of South Africa in a previous era,presumably before the release of Mandela,it is quite distressing in its acount of terrible abuse - probably the worst thing is that the boy is too small and young to prevent the abuse of his sister - that feels like the most painful aspect of all.It was upsetting to read about the breakup of the marriage,but at least the autrhor seemed to genuin ely love his father and his sister,who seems like the most important person in his life.When i have uploaded could you read two chapters of my novel 'A Buccaneer' about pirates in the 17th century in the Caribbean,Strachan Gordon

mrsdfwt wrote 1106 days ago

Dear McIntosh,
This is a heart-wrenching story beautifully told. You should be so proud of the child you were, the adversities you overcame.The agonizing wish to have a place to belong, but forced to live with people who abused you so cruelly. I am so happy to know your story is being published. The world should know of more true life stories such as this one, so that we may be thankful for what we have.
Be proud of your accomplishments and give thanks.
Good for you!
Six Stars.
"Dark of the Moon"

Francene Stanley wrote 1107 days ago

Hi McIntosh,

I've just read your chapter 1 again and it involved me in a terrible tale of children's bullying torture. I see that you have a book deal for your story, and I'm very happy for you. I guess you don't need to make the writing as perfect as possible. The story itself grips the reader and drags them into the boy's small world of abandonment. Helpless to protect his sister, she forgives him.

It might be an idea to explain where Gogo is during the time when the children are inside the hut and burning the little ones. And how did they get hold of a can of insect spary. Surely the loss would be noticed in such deprived circumstances. Little details like this make the story come to life.

The descriptions are terrific. How would they sound through the child's eyes though?

Francene. Still Rock Water.

RonParker wrote 1189 days ago


This is a very emotional story and aprt from the odd missing word and occassional typo is well written, but it starts in the wrong place. You need to start where the action is. You can set the scene and describe the location later. Begin your story at what you now have as your third paragraph.

In the early pat of the chapter you also have quite a few fragmented sentences. There's nothing wrong with doing this occasionally, but you have too many too close together which spoils their effect.


Francene Stanley wrote 1292 days ago

I know your story is worth tellingm but the 'was', 'were' and 'had' sentence construction puts me off reading it. If you take note of how many of the above words, you will notice the enormous number of them.

eg: It must have been many weeks...when I was reunited....I was sent. etc.

Maybe something like: Many weeks after being with...I met Zinhle again.

If you go through and see how many of the offending words you can remove, your writing will improve.

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1314 days ago

Dear McIntosh,
I think your pitch is really great. Now you need a unique cover to distinguish your book. It's a lot harder to remember who you've backed if you're looking at generic book cover. Nice writing!

Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

lionel25 wrote 1318 days ago

Strong opening chapter. Great writing. Nothing really to nitpick in that first section.

Happy to back your work.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Wezzle wrote 1319 days ago

An uncomfortable read - but I kept going, I felt I owed it to you - to understand a life that is so far from my own. I hope this flies for you, you deserve it.

John Warren-Anderson wrote 1319 days ago

Very compelling. The more so because it's a true story.
Good luck with it.

lj reads wrote 1323 days ago

Just reading your pitch touched my heart. I've only read your first chapter. Alot of people choose to ignore the hunger of children throughout the world. It moves my heart knowing that you've opened up. Your very brave! Congratulations! One good thing about the concept of 'time' is that it allows you to heal.

CarolinaAl wrote 1323 days ago

A well told, shocking true story. Evocative theme. Believable, complex characters. Masterfyl imagery. Realistic dialogue. Excellent sense of place. Touching narrative. Surefooted, accomplished writing. Backed.

fortyplus wrote 1324 days ago

From one African to another, thank you for backing my story. I read some of your work. Well written! Angi

willh wrote 1327 days ago

Thank your for backing me McIntosh. I am happy to reciprocate for your evocative and shocking story. I have never read about the African landscape before. Brilliant stuff.

Peter Wild wrote 1329 days ago

Clear, sunny, fresh and fluent. I come from Zambia and immediately felt the atmosphere, described with the simplicity that is Africa. Really very nice indeed. Should go far - I certainly hope so.
Good stuff, McIntosh (lovely name, too). Backed for sure.
Best wishes
Peter Wild
Double Action

Beval wrote 1332 days ago

A sad story told in a beautifully African voice. The contrast between the soft tones and the wicked treatment of this poor child is both compelling and hear tbreaking.

Frank Calcagno wrote 1333 days ago

The story is rich in vivid descriptions. Very good story. I hope it goes far.

graciem365 wrote 1334 days ago

What a story! Thanks for sharing!-Grace

Rusty Bernard wrote 1334 days ago

Hi Poela,

very difficult story to tell and you do it with compassion and commitment. Very well done.

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
The Mental Pause

M. A. McRae. wrote 1336 days ago

Biographies always seem to be so depressing, - perhaps because the ones who feel driven to write their biographies are those who've had a bad time in some way. There are minor imperfections in your writing here and there, easily fixed. I'll put the few I picked up in a separate message. What I would suggest for your book is for you to print it for yourself, it is of value to you and to your family. I have no idea whether it can stand up in the competitive world of writing. I wish you all luck with your writing. Marj.

SingingOwl wrote 1336 days ago

Your writing style is absolutely beautiful.

I note many sentences which begin with the word AND. Generally, this should not begin a new sentence but continue the previous one, with a comma first. For example: Waterfalls are plentiful, and the cliff faces, probably... or Waterfalls are plentiful. The cliff faces, probably... There are exceptions to this, but it should not be done consistently. You also need to use quotation marks. Example: I managed to get only one egg today said one of the boys. Should be, "I managed to get only one egg today," said one of the boys.

There are also some sentence fragments. One example: "A small sparsely populated village nestled in one of the valleys in Underberg." That is not a complete sentence, but a clause. Just put a comma betwee and take off the capital letter A. There are many of these kinds of things, so perhaps it will just need a good edit from someone who has English as a first language.

This is so descriptive, beautifully written, heartbreaking and compelling, and I wouldn't want to see if overlooked because of punctuation or sentence structure errors.

Enthusiastically backed, and I will return to read more..

SingingOwl wrote 1337 days ago

Is this autobiography? Your pitch is compelling indeed. Got you on my WL and will be back for some reading as soon as I can.

minx2minx wrote 1337 days ago

Nice to have come across such an easy to read story. Not that you life was easy of course. I have only once been to Africa and that was about 12 years ago, visiting some of the homes of people who worked where we were staying. It was an eye opener to see such young children carrying the water and doing the family laundry by and and, the women sat separate from the men and us 'guests', who had the only cutlery the family possessed. Twelve pounds and we had purchased a whole months food for a family of eight...
Reading this book has bought back so many memories of seeing how you lived, though we didn't see the abuse, though in my experience, abusers keep their evilness hidden from anyone who will help their prey.
You are backed with total pleasure and I hope to see this book in the book shop soon.
I will continue to read your story whenever I get a free moment.
Good luck.
Lizzie Scott :-)

Eunice Attwood wrote 1337 days ago

I always enjoy talse of Africa. You write consistently with a nice flow which makes your book easy to read. Backed with pleasure. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

celticwriter wrote 1338 days ago

Nice consistent style....great structure. Refreshing, actually.
Happily backed.

jack & charmian london

Vall wrote 1338 days ago

Evocative writing, MacIntosh, happy to back.

Lulubanks wrote 1338 days ago

This is done masterfully...smooth prose that paints the vivid scenes with ease, confidence and skill...well done...

nsllee wrote 1341 days ago

Hi McIntosh

I love stories that take me into a different world and this one does. The scenes of African life are so different from my everyday life, and then the scenes of abuse are so heartrending, it's unbearable. Backed.


EltopiaAuthor wrote 1342 days ago

I love that you start with a description of Underberg, and I hope it accurately describes a place in Africa because I have never been there and it seems so exotic to me.

A nit for you: You start with some passive tense that I think would come across more vividly and more completely if it were rewritten in active tense. Example: "The sleepy ... town is surrounded by the ... mountains" would be shorter and more effective as "The ... mountains ... surround the sleepy town." (One word replaces three words.)

Of course it is at your discretion, but it were my story I would go through it and rewrite as many passive constructions as possible. In general it just makes for a faster pace, easier reading, more said with fewer words.

Good luck to you.


mageba wrote 1342 days ago

OMG this this is a winner Mac.

Barry Wenlock wrote 1342 days ago

A very brutal and compelling story. If you edit, it will gain wider readership.
Backed for its sheer, raw power,

rab14 wrote 1342 days ago

Yours is a compelling story and told in simplistic terms which adds to the horror of the tale. At first I thought maybe you should look at breaking up the paragraphs with dialogue but then I changed my mind - the appeal of the story lies in its meandering pace, the dialogue, written without puncuation marks, in this case I think works. You could look at the sentence structure which needs editting though. Good Luck K.J.

dave_ancon wrote 1343 days ago

A very interesting story. This is a winner, but you must make some minor changes. For instance, “freightened” is spelled frightened. Use a spell checker, if you have one, to find these mistakes. You want your story to shine when you complete it and send it to publishers or agents. Secondly, I'd use more dialogue. Instead of telling us the story, try to insert the scene as it unfolded, as you saw it long ago. Readers like to step into the MC's shoes and live the story themselves. And, don't ever give up. You have a great talent, and to not use it would be a lose to us readers. Great stuff, this. I'll back it for you. Dave

R.A. Battles wrote 1343 days ago

I have three words for you . . . ON MY SHELF!

Rodney B.

Lynne Ellison wrote 1343 days ago

You certainly had an awful time as a child!

Lynne Ellison

The Green Bronze Mirror

Romilla wrote 1343 days ago

McIntosh Polela: My Father, My Monster

Dear McIntosh,
I was rather touched by the manner in which you brought out your story - I guess we all have stories to tell and yours' is certainly a story that needs a handkerchief close by; the worst thing anyone could have is a father who is NOT a father.
I like the language flow - simple and profound; naturally constructed with the flow imminent from the thought process of a little boy's eyes. That's nice and the manner in which you reveal the fascinating lifestyle you were suddenly immersed in deserves mention - I love it; it is a fresh and crisp telling that takes me through a little boy who has yet to partake in the customs and lifestyles really foreign to him.
I hope this story rides you through - my only suggestion is to strengthen your description; I did see minor grammar errors and the like but this will eventually be polished when it is ready for publication.

Best of luck with the book!

Forgetting Sally

Jim Darcy wrote 1344 days ago

Thanks for sharing this story however uncomfortable a read. Hopefully, if people are made aware of what can happen it might begin to stop.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

Becca wrote 1345 days ago

This kind of has a bit of a travelogue feel to it along with just being an engaging story with a great premise. I love the way you bring the reader into your world, allowing everything that happens to be just as real for them as it was for you (or whoever this story is based on). Thank you for sharing and I hope that this does well on Authonomy.
The Forever Girl

Linda Lou wrote 1345 days ago

MY FATHER MY MONSTER - Mcintosh Polela
Hullo Mc. this is a very revealing story and you are a strong person to have opened this up to us. The only problem that I had was with the font that you chose to write your story in, a bit difficult to read after a few chapters. Already shelved and backed.
Please take a look at my book if you have not and thanks for that.
Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort

Margaret Anthony wrote 1345 days ago

When the writer finds so much strength to write a story like this, I, the reader shouldn't feel depressed but at times I did.
If this had been a work of fiction, it would be fairly easy to accept it as the product of a great imagnation. However this is truth, bare, real and awful.
No comment to make other than the resilience of children never ceases to amaze me. A brave and well told account which deserves to be read. Backed. Margaret.

Pen Power wrote 1345 days ago

Very moving . It is hard to believe that a child can survive such cruelty both emotional and physical and still go on to take their place in society as a 'normal' human being. It is truly a case of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
The wounds I am sure will never fully heal but you deserve your success and every little bit of joy that life can now bring to you.
All the best with this

zan wrote 1346 days ago

My Father, My Monster

McIntosh Polela

Writing which is compelling with human interest themes which are universal and highly relevant. A courageous piece of writing and non-fiction worthy of publication - hope it happens for you.

scrapper2675 wrote 1347 days ago

Moving and powerful, with a strong voice. Backed with pleasure!
Christi Watson
Wonder- Heart of Captivation- A Thief of Life Novel

bluewriter wrote 1347 days ago

Wow. This is not something I would normally pick up but you managed to grab my attention right from the beginning. I found myself both horrified by their treatment and curious what their life would bring next. Writing was well done. The only suggestion I might have is to tighten up your pitch. Good luck. Backed.

Pia wrote 1348 days ago

McIntosh -

My Father, My Monster - Authentic voice. Being initiated by one's peers with shit. That's deep and makes one ponder tribal wisdoms. Your story is very engaging and given time I would read on. For the strong writing and the theme of conflict and a seemingly impossible generousity of forgiveness.

Pia (Course of Mirrors)