It's hard to take this book seriously on any level.
I always get the feeling, from reading Walter's books, that she's a rather well-to-do middle class lady... and reading this book, above all her others, seems to confirm my suspicions.
The descriptions of the ordinary estate people (there are millions in Britain, Minette) were cliched, tired and frequently verged on the offensive. There are many many single mothers... but do they all have to be daytime TV addicts, swigging lager and smoking fags to their daily dose of Trisha? And do they all really need to be following that supposed 'cycle' of single parents, with jobless jailbird junkie males as the only love interest? The book seems confused, too. Are we following the listless 'missing girl' plot (which thankfully seems to get all but forgotten in the latter half of Acid Row) or the dastardly paedo/dirty Daddy story, which, with increasing ridiculousness, takes the forefront in the book?
I'm usually quite a fan of Walters' knack for writing a book you feel could have been set in your own village - she seems at home in the comfy, conservative, country villages like Dorset....but desperately out on a limb when writing about anything but this priveliged rich existence. Her genuine lack of knowledge regarding things like housing estates, race problems, drug problems and the relationships which run these apparently crime-ridden estates is glaringly obvious in Acid Row, and her generalisations and Daily Mail-like observations gave me frequent intakes of breath and curling of the toes.
A blip on an otherwise pretty near faultless body of work, Acid Row should be avoided. It really isn't a book to be proud of, and it certainly isn't one to recommend or read again.
And I haven't, for the benefit of Ms Walters writing career, even mentioned the gut churningingly American ending......