My first read, by Martina Cole. It's different, raw, a refreshing change and a stunning, yet easy read. Cole draws from her experience in my opinion and in doing so creates highly believable characters and families living on the edge. She cleverly draws the reader in to thinking at times these anti heroes are being put on to a pedestal or even glorified. They're not, these characters are real and Cole helps to illustrate in her writing how these people are created. They are victims of circumstance and only the clever ones will survive. A poignant moment in the book is when two of these parents coerce out of a small child his first word. The word is 'tunt' he can't pronounce it properley but the parents think it's great and within a few days he'll get it right. My own life experience in Newcastle witnessed exactly the same spectacle but with a different swear word, the F word and this time the little boy pronounced it correctly.
Cole mixes the prosse with the narative a little to often for my liking but again she is a natural storyteller and whether she does this by accident or on purpose it works! The last book I read where the author threw away the rule book on writing a novel was Angels's Ashes by Frank McCourt and Martina Cole achieves much the same effect. (In my opinion anyway.) An intelectual might say the book is badly written at times, and that may be the case. But Cole is not writing for the intelectual she is writing for Mr and Mrs Average and she is writing for Mr & Mrs wrapped in cotton wool who perhaps are not aware that these people are out there. The storyline of the book is pacey, and at times disturbing. The last two hundred pages were awesome and I just had to finish them in one sitting. Well worth it.