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Despite the searing heat and water shortages, the long hot summer of 1976 was a magical experience for the young and Joanna Cannon has done an incredible job in conjuring this era back for us to enjoy once again. I well remember complaining about the heat (!), the stifling houses with carpet the colour of cough medicine and long evenings pouring over the Kay's catalogue trying to work out if I could afford the 48 weekly payments of 25p for a pair of dream shoes. This is a story set in an ordinary UK town and follows two little girls and their wry observations of the adults in their locality. One man is treated as a rank outsider by the rest of the community and their struggle to understand why he is treated this way makes a very moving and poignant story. There is the mystery of a disappeared woman, an arson attack and a kidnapped baby all woven into a tale of everyday life filled with believable characters. This is peppered with very frequent laughs and the odd teary moment and is an overall triumph of unashamed nostalgia and humanity.
Paula Wilcox does a lovely job of bringing this book to life and handles the male and female characters with equal aplomb. After this impressive debut I am really looking forward to reading more from this talented author.
31 of 34 people found this review helpful
I loved all the memories of the 70's it was the era of my childhood, and we can all (if your old enough) recall the long hot summer of 1976.
Ms Cannon brought back Tiswas, ponchos, brotherhood of man, stylophone, angel delight , blackjack and flying saucers as well as Jackie magazine.
I loved and laugh at the descriptions The carpet was the colour of cough medicine,
He was pale and shiny like the cod at the fish counter,
Her mouth was having an argument with her face,
The kind of cold that whispers into your bones.
However despite all of the above I just did not feel a connection to the story, the characters were believable but I feel the memories and funny anecdotes are the only things keeping this ok story together.
The narrator Paula Wilcox was great and did the young girls voices very well without being soprano-esque.
May be it's just me but I will not be dashing back for more.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful