Despite the constant movement of the family and the cracks in the parental marriage there is a loyalty shown in the young Vic not so much towards his family but towards London.
So when they move into the centre of the City he revels in the poverty and starts indulging in habits that even his parents disapprove of. They carry on when he has another spell back in Yorkshire at his grandparents.
There is a real sense of a childhood at the turn of the century with older boys threatening him with rumours of the reappearance of Jack the Ripper and references to the death of the King.
This evokes not just the past but the emergence of what became the future with his father representing the care-free modern man and his father the preacher holding all of the values of the Victorian era.
It is an easy read and one that shows underlines the old maxim about writers writing about what they know.