Review published on April 17, 2018.
If you lived through the seventies and eighties and can remember when watching television with the family was a treat, you will love this novel.
It is 2006 and forty-year-old Phillipa has had her first baby. Memories of her childhood flood back, and alternate chapters take us through her time in hospital with her newborn daughter and her life growing up above a sweet shop in a Devon seaside town. While she is still very young, her mother runs off to Canada with a suave male model. She has never known her father and is left at the shop with lovely Bob, the owner. She is lucky to have a wonderful group of grown-ups who look out for her including Wink, a neighbour who has an old cat and a parrot, as well as honorary aunt and uncle, Sheila and Bernie, and their daughter, Toni, and school friends Lucas and Cheryl.
This is a really funny but touching memoir of how it was to grow up at the end of the twentieth century. Princess Diana’s wedding, her eventual death, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair are all interspersed with references to TV programmes, sweets, clothes and comics.
Chapters are called after memorable programmes and the appearance of Bob and Wink on The Generation Game is hilarious.
I loved Sophe Duffy’s style of writing. Sometimes when an author attempts to be the voice of a young child it doesn’t quite come off, but this is pitch perfect. The scenes between Philippa and Lucas are very touching.
The cultural references come thick and fast, the characters are very well realised and it is a book that is difficult to put down.
Let me just say that Philippa does grow up and learn a lot, and there is a happy ending after a lot of heartache.
Reading groups of a certain age will love the chance this book gives them to reminisce.
Dorothy Anderson 5/5
The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy
Legend Press 9781787198548 pbk Apr 2018