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Nineteen Seventy-nine: A Big Year in a Small Town Paperback – 2 Oct 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009189428X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091894283
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 473,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


" required reading for anyone who might be in any doubt as to which way their own sexual pendulum is swinging" -- Jenny Eclair, The Mirror

"For a read that's just like Rhona - eccentric, feisty and very funny - get your hands on this book" -- Jenny Eclair, The Mirror

"Unusual and touching memoir...which could prove one of the hits of the autumn" -- The Bookseller

"a brutally candid account of life as a gay teenager" -- Sunday Times, Scotland

"a fabulous memoir" -- ID Magazine

"every sniff, touch and turn of phrase is recorded as if newly experienced" -- The Sunday Times, Scotland

"had me laughing, cringing, sad and sympathetic in equal measure...a tender and awkward coming of age story with astonishing detail" -- Stephen Torsi, The Bookseller

"wildly contrasting strands of confessional writing, from the frothy to the darkly disturbing, all in a vivid and full-on style" -- The Sunday Times, Scotland

'Well-written, funny, touching, irreverent and deeply moving' -- Scottish Sunday Post

`a wonderfully fresh and funny account of teenage confusion' -- Bookseller

From the Author

It's very personal. Writing it, took me to a place where i needed to go, to grieve for my father, that is what i will take from it the most. I had kept diaries knowing that one day my life would be worth writing about. I have always done so, and at many times writing away was the only place i felt i had to go. I was very lonely at this age and hope the book captures that. I didn't make many descisions when writing it, i didn't allow any self consciousness about being someone in the public eye to distract or prohibit me from what i wanted to do which was, to simply tell it as it was. It is a book i've dedicated to my parents, as a thankyou, in particular my mother who has been through hell and high tide.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Martin White on 17 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Somewhere in literature there must be some classic quote about how comedy is borne of tragedy. Just like there must be other clever quotes about how the pain of adolescence and peer pressure in a small town can amplify that suffering from being merely lonely and painful into something much worse. If I was smart and articulate enough I’d probably pull them out of the literary hat right now to illustrate Rhona’s biography, however I’m not so I won’t. Fortunately, neither does Rhona, despite the fact it must be tempting. This is the least pretentious and painfully honest book about growing up I’ve ever read. So ignore the TV personality bit, the ‘gay icon’ bit or the desert island bit - this is the no holds barred story of a formative year in the life of a young girl who, as well as having to cope with the usual teen crises, finds herself painfully confused by her own sexuality and her place in an environment that openly scorns anything other than the right fashions, the right football team and the ruthlessly-adhered-to popularity pecking order.
Biographies aren’t usually my thing as I tend to find them a bit dry and self obsessed, however this book had me hooked all the way through – I found it engaging, well written, and interspersed with diary entries and conversations with colourful characters from her own imagination. It was by turns hilarious, shocking, touching and tragic, and gives the reader a snapshot of true insight into the background of one of the countries best contemporary comedy talents.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By on 24 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this novel cringing with shock, surprise, and embarassment every few pages, and not just at Rhona's exploits but at how much I had forgotten about my own childhood. Did we really do all those things that Rhona is so brave to put her hands up to? "Kays catalogue" says it all really.
But other than being cringeworthy, this book is a good read especially for those readers (me) who are sick to death of so-called celebrities publishing their childhood memoirs in the dim hope that they have something important to share, (they dont). Rhona is just like every one of us, it feels as if you are reading your friend's tale, because you actually care, you can share experience, and it feels as if you are gossiping with Rhona, sharing these horrible moments over a vodka and coke.
When Rhona needs to get serious toward the end of the book, she does with a childlike exactness and boldness. I had tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking my pillow, before I realised. Its quite a gift to be able to make me cry!
Great book - and thanks for the conclusion to Jamie's story!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "joineehulme" on 10 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
Cameron's self-confessed disturbingly uncanny memory for random detail is not the only thing that makes 'Nineteen Seventy Nine' immensely readable and enjoyable. She also has an nerve-wrenching talent for causing the reader to grimace in embarassment every page or two!
Bravely written, disclosing and revealing those things so few of us can bear to even remember, Cameron gives us a year in the life of a lesbian in a small town. Including her actual, 13 yr old diary entries, and telling the story with that detail that is so intriguing, and unusual to see.
Described easily as a book about 'coming to terms with sexuality', or 'coming of age', these somewhat stock phrases cannot grasp the actuality that is, in truth, the painful recollection of being different in a small town. The difficulty of being the one (and always the only one) so desperately trying to dodge the machinations of the eternally too-cool, while trying too hard to be one of them; this is the true nature of the book, to one with personal comparisons to draw on.
The narration is frank, sometimes touching in it's often bland emotion and honesty and the character's desperation just to fit in and be liked - by one girl, just one. Amusing, too, not to mention stomach-clenchingly cringeworthy and mostly immense fun to read.
In her true stand-up style, Cameron shows us that even in this new field, nothing is off-limits, and nothing is too bad to dredge up and confess!
If ever needing a change of career, Cameron might look to penning fiction in the futre - her description of detail, insight to character and own sense of irony and humour would stand her in good stead. One can only hope.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "acissejtseb" on 20 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
Cameron's witty and at times moving description of what she in a recent interview named the crucial year of her life, makes for both an enjoyable and insightful read into the mind of a public figure with a very down to earth background. From the logging of her obsession with teachers and girls at school, to the poignant observation of her adoptive father's fight against lung cancer, the story of small town life in Scotland is far from mundane.
I found her frank and honest approach to the awareness of her sexuality at such a young age a revelation to read about, and I think heterosexual and gay readers alike will find that they are able to connect in some way.
Cameron speaks of many of the common (and some not quite so common) insecurities and fears of young adolscence, with just the right amount of humour and compassion inbetween. Whether you are a fan, or know very little of this comedian as I did, the book will make you laugh and cry in equal amounts. A book about belonging and the beginning of self-discovery, I'm looking forward to the next one to see how it all turned out.
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