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Divided City [Paperback]

Theresa Breslin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 4.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 May 2006

A young man lies bleeding in the street.

It could be any street, in any city. But it's not. It's Glasgow. And it's May - the marching season. The Orange Walks have begun.

Graham doesn't want to be involved. He just wants to play football with his new mate, Joe. But when he witnesses a shocking moment of violence, suddenly he and Joe are involved. With Catholics, and with Protestants. With a young Muslim asylum-seeker, and his girlfriend. With all the old rivalries - and fears . . .

A gripping tale about two boys who must find their own answers - and their own way forward - in a world divided by differences.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New Ed edition (4 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552551880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552551885
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


" 'A moving and epic story' Scottish Book Trust 'Truly memorable' The Bookseller 'Funny, warm and clever' Guardian" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A gripping tale of two boys - one a Catholic, one a Protestant - whose attempt to help an outsider is set against the sectarian prejudices around them in Glasgow when the annual Orange Walks begin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An important first 3 Nov 2006
This book tells the story of two teenage boys - one Catholic, one Protestant - who become friends when they play on the same football team, even though they support opposing teams themselves. The author has given a good insight into how sectarianism and its accompanying bias is often passed down through generations - unfortunately it remains a significant problem in Glasgow.

My major problem with this book was the language attributed to the two teenage boys. The author couldn't seem to decide whether they should use phonetic slang or proper English, and the resulting mixture of both did not help the credibility of the characters. One had a parent with a PhD and the other had a lawyer and a dentist for parents - not sure that either child would speak in Scottish slang, or that they would use words like lavatory.

The thread about Kyoul, the asylum seeker that both boys try to help, could have been developed more I think. He was little more than a plot device. And while the overall sentiment of the book is admirable (one city, many cultures or whatever), it does seem a bit trite at the end. My own feeling is that the characters just didn't ring true, though many other parts of the book did. All in all, a worthy subject, and the story is fairly well-written, though I expected the role of the asylum-seeker to be more significant.

This book is an important first, and I hope that the topic continues to be explored - but it needs to be in a way that is credible to teenagers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read and food for thought for teenagers 12 Jun 2007
As intense as an Old Firm match and as gripping as an episode of Taggart, this Glasgow-set exploration of prejudice and bigotry had me entralled and I'm pretty sure the same would be true of its intended teenage audience.

That the two principal characters are lads obsessed with football, one Catholic and one Protestant, is probably all you need to know to start with. It sounds like the stuff of cliche, but it is executed so well that this would be an unfair accusation.

Occasionally the dialogue doesn't quite ring true, but this is true of most teenage fiction (there is rarely enough swearing, for a start). The characterisation, however is spot-on and cleverly economical which allows the reader to imagine the key characters as similar to people they know.

It builds to a climax which looks as though it's going to be inevitably tragic but...well, no clues. If certain threads seem unresolved, that is inevitable, given the subject matter. It is, nevertheless, a story written with hope and enthusiasm.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great book
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I thought that this looked to be an interested read and only realised that it was intended for teenagers, probably 11-14 year olds, when I was already caught up in the narrative. There is sufficient description of football and footballers to keep the attention of most sporting boys although I am unsure as to its attraction to girls. It would clearly mean most to those knowing something about Rangers and Celtic players past and present, whose names are sprinkled through the book.

This is much more that a mere footballing book, however, as mental health, illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, terminal illness, modern art, threats and bullying are all addressed, as well as the central issues of sectarianism and friendship across the religious divide.

Graham, from a Protestant family, and Joe, a Catholic, are football-mad Glaswegian teenagers. They are brought together in a team and, when we first meet them, they and their coach are just realising how well they play together, each one able to anticipate the play of the other. The coach will soon have to recommend players for the Glasgow City youth team and both boys hope to be included. When they leave the pitch, however, they are initially wary of one another, a sign of the extent of the sectarian divide in Glasgow.

Returning home after a match, Graham takes a short cut that his parents have warned him against and finds himself in the middle of a gang attack. A boy is stabbed and, despite not wanting to be involved, Graham calls for an ambulance. Whilst waiting for its arrival the injured boy asks Graham to take a message to his friend Leanne and writes her address on a piece of paper. When the ambulance arrives its crew tells Graham to accompany the injured boy to the hospital.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 29 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very fascinating book not what I excpeted but thoroughly enjoyed it shows a really story to Glasgow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read. 18 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not finished this book yet but it's a great read about Glasgow and how a city is divided. Great for school projects and anyone interested in Glasgow culture and problems faced.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Chris 24 Oct 2013
By Chris
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was interested in reading this book with my P7 class and read it before hand to prepare some notes. Yes there are small sections that I can use within the class, but I honestly was soo disappointed in this book. Such a fuss was made over it and how exciting it was...but nothing too dramatic happened. There was no real big event really to do with Celtic and Rangers. It did go into the orange walk and different sectarian issues which is useful and interesting but it shouldn't have take 251 pages to describe that! Overall I'm just very disappointed in the book because I wanted some big even to happen...but for me it failed to reach that expectation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read...especially for the young ones in the West of Scotalnd
Funny, informative and suprising. Learned suff I didn't know and saw things from both sides for once. What each side thinks of the other is hilarious.
Published 10 months ago by FIONA KELSO
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Bought this for my daughter as she was reading this book at school. Good to reflect on what she learned in school.
Published 10 months ago by alison phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Divided City
Good, easy to read for p7 school children, exploring issues around religion and race growing up in Glasgow. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Karen lovering
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping story about old firm fans
bought this for my son. a gripping story about life on the divided side of the old firm well worth a read and remeber its only a game
Published 14 months ago by franco m
5.0 out of 5 stars Difference is ok ?
Prejudiced___not me!! Well not til l read this book having seen the musical. The young are our hope but simple people like Jack can lead the way with common ground that can make... Read more
Published 17 months ago by JAMES J P MCDERMOTT
4.0 out of 5 stars Divided city
Very interesting read, well done to the author magnificent story and very true about our lovely city of Glasgow thank you
Published 17 months ago by Jill McDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill book for boys
I bought this book for my teenaged football mad nephew, not an avid reader, so I was surprised and delighted when he rated it highly. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bedtime Story Mum
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but...
Great book but the endings a bit odd. I don't no whether i downloaded the full book. ;( would have given 5 stars if it wasn't for the ending. Recommend to you!!!
Published 18 months ago by Claire Wasige
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