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Scratch [Kindle Edition]

Danny Gillan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

An unexpected reminder of his past prompts Jim Cooper, a 33 year-old Glaswegian call centre worker, to make a big decision. He’s going back to adulthood ground-zero - no job, no debt, no, er, home, and starting again. Maybe this time he can do it right and get the girl. The fact that the girl is already married and living in another country and her Bruce Lee obsessed dad apparently wants to turn Jim into his latest pet are only two of the obstacles he faces.
Given Jim's forward planning skills don’t extend beyond praying and having panic attacks, it isn’t surprising that he soon finds himself living with his parents and working for minimum wage, in the same pub he worked in when he was 18. What is unexpected is Paula Fraser walking through the pub’s door for the first time in 12 years.
What’s even more surprising is that Paula admits she still loves Jim. But yes, she’s married, and no, she won't cheat on her husband. She'll tell him the marriage is over. Soon. When the time is right. As soon as her husband's sick grandfather gets better - or fatally worse.

And so, Jim and Paula embark on the tricky business of not having an affair, and not telling anyone they know that they’re not having an affair. As Jim reflects, ‘If not being physically intimate with her in any way and denying to everyone we knew that anything was going on between us was the best way to prove I loved her, then that’s what I would do.’

Scratch is an un-sanitised, emotionally honest and hilariously candid story about what it is to grow up as opposed to simply change age, as told by a man who doesn’t know what any of those words mean.

Word Count: 98,000

By the same author:

Will You Love Me Tomorrow - some musicians wait a lifetime for a record deal. Bryan Rivers waited three days longer.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow is a comedy about death, depression, grief, loss, friendship, family, haircuts and the music business.

A Selection of Meats and Cheeses - Twelve short stories from Danny Gillan. Some sad, some funny, some serious some silly, some poignant and some pointless.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 575 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Jakobian Books; 1 edition (10 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RQ8WEO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,903 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

As a youth, my main ambition was to find success as a musician. I've been playing the guitar since I was six, and, in my teens and twenties, played in and wrote songs for a number of bands in and around Glasgow, with varying degrees of failure.
As I grew older, and every inch lost to my hairline resulted in two being added to my waistline, I came to realise that rock godhood was no longer a viable option, but it has always stuck with me how much I enjoyed the writing process.

At the same time as seeking out failure and misery in the music world I have had a couple of other careers. Upon dropping out of university for a record third time (my mother is so proud), I got my first pub job. For five or six years I spent pretty much all of my waking hours pulling, and drinking, pints in several of Glasgow's finest licensed premises. Pub work can be a great life, as long as you don't mind the terrible wages and complete lack of career prospects, but eventually I found myself inexplicably hankering after something a bit more fulfilling.
Through a casual acquaintance I was introduced to the world of social care, more specifically that of supporting adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems. I spent the next eight years working in this field, starting as a voluntary music tutor and rising to the dizzying heights of senior management with a large voluntary organisation operating in the West of Scotland. Eventually, however,

constant battles with social workers about funding, and support staff about the importance of turning up for a shift, started to get to me.

Eight years ago I handed in my notice and went back to pulling pints, at least initially. I'd managed, through blatant nepotism (my sister was the manager), to get a job in a posh Glasgow hotel. For the first year or so I happily reacquainted myself with Glasgow's drinking culture, but it didn't take them long to notice I was relatively good with unimportant things like words and numbers, and I found myself charged with thankless tasks such as accounts, payrolls and answering complaint letters. This was not fun, believe me.

I soon tired of all that and, in 2006, returned to social care. Nepotism played its part once again, when a former manager called me with a job offer. The hours are awful and the money's rubbish, but apart from that I'm quite enjoying it.

Anyway, back to writing. I had a couple of false starts. I wrote some brilliant opening chapters, establishing characters, locations and relationships. The problem was that I could never get past that first chapter. It soon became apparent that plot, of all things, was something of a prerequisite.
This threw me for a while.
And then I had an idea. What would happen if a failed musician (okay yes, me) became depressed (don't ask) and killed himself, then got famous? That could be a plot.

From that initial idea I sketched out a plot revolving around the friends and family of the musician in question, and found I was able to explore a diverse set of themes including social care, music, familial relationships, friendship and mental health issues, hopefully with a decent dose of humour and sensitivity.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow is the end result of many subsequent months of toil and frustration, and was selected as the Scottish Region winner of the Undiscovered Authors 2007 competition. The book was published by Discovered Authors in October 2008.

Since completing the book I have written a number of short stories, something I hadn't attempted before. I've found this an excellent way to practice and polish my writing, as well as an opportunity to experiment with style, tense, point of view etc. One of my short stories is due for publication in a future edition of Chapman magazine and another has recently been accepted by Bridge House Publishing. Another appears in an anthology produced by the Arts Council funded writers' site, and a fourth is due to appear later this year in Short Fuses, and anthology produced and published by the Bookshed, an online writing and publishing community.

I have now completed my second novel, Scratch. It tells the tale of Jim Cooper, a Glaswegian thirty-something office worker who decides to leave his job, sell his flat, pay off his debts and start his adult life again from scratch.
Maybe this time he can do it properly and get (or, rather, keep) the girl.
The fact that the girl is happily married and lives in another country, and her Bruce Lee obsessed father seems to want to be Jim's new best friend are only the beginning of his troubles.
Scratch is an un-sanitised, emotionally honest and hilariously candid story about what it is to grow up as opposed to simply change age, as told by a man who doesn't know what any of those words mean.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting by Not Fighting 24 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of this genre and can confidently state this one is far, far better than anything else in its field.

With Scratch, Danny Gillan achieves what David Nicholls cannot and what Tony Parsons can only dream about.
This book reminds me of Jim Keeble or John O'Farrell - but it really is much better.
Scratch is honest-funny, not synthetic-funny.

This is funny, sharply observed comedy with a wry contemporary and Glaswegian slant on age-old problems.
It appeals to men and women alike (I tested it) in its disarming tone, disguising an intelligence and philosophical angle with humour, hilarious set pieces and a refusal to fit conventional Hollywood formulae.
Gillan's crucial advantage is that he writes likeable key characters; people we understand, recognise and could be persuaded to join for a pint. Which is handy, as much of the action is set in the pub.

But it's more than one man's painful journey through lager to maturity; it examines how people choose to live their lives, how external facades hide rifts, patterns of behaviour and deeply held assumptions.
His cast of characters; Terry the Not-In-The Closet mate, Kate the Beautiful-But-Crap co-worker, Joe/Simon the astute psychologist with a Bruce Lee obsession, Sammy the Out-of-the-Closet boss, all weave a wonderfully rich background against which our Jim fights his battles.
There's a love story at the heart of this, but it isn't the one you think.
The bits that made me cry and nod came from the most unexpected quarter, and meant all the more for it. Near the end, Jim and Martin's conversation, so perfectly pitched, lifted this book to another level. Gillan's writing - quite literally - makes us grow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch. 25 April 2013
By Janet
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This could be a marmite read maybe for those who don't connect with working class roots and British Humour. It could also be something of a niche novel with the strong Scottish dialogue. Well, I did connect with all of that, and I absolutely loved it.
I do like an anti-hero as well, and Jim certainly filled that role. The disappointed parents, the love-of-his-life-girlfriend that got away and the tedious, dead-end job that is his life.
So Jim starts his life again, from scratch.
This takes some guts; so maybe he's not such an anti-hero after all?
And then the ex pops up. It's complicated, and the author leads a skilled route through the minefield of relationships around this semi-clandestine affair.
Some hidden depths then, with this Jim Cooper and as the story progresses and we are taunted by the will-they-won't-they-get-back-together conundrum, there is something about this guy, something which makes us root for him.
Great lad-lit kind of style, very readable.
Overall, a solid four and a half rating for me. Slightly long winded here and there, but the characterisation, the relationship observations and the humour, more than made up for it. Loved the chef and his assistant. My OH had me read out the dialogue, and even with my appalling accent, he still laughed. Oh, and the ending...
(Last word: If this is ever made into a film, please have Mark Benton - with the appropriate accent training first, I'm sure he'd do a better job than me - to play Terry.)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 22 Mar 2011
By Gilly
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wish I could write like this. I really do. I wish I could create a character who felt like someone you knew, or wanted to know, or wish you'd known in a previous life. Who was witty and warm, shallow and human, a wanker and a hero all in one.
It's rarely you come to the end of a book, particularly one with a comedy angle, and feel you may possible have learned something about yourself, but I came to the final page (well, kindle screen) this morning and felt enlightened.
The author creates a fairly mundane life, of a pretty mundane character, with no real shocks, no clever twists, no real heros or baddies. As journeys go it's pretty routine ...
But ... it's gripping. Totally hooks you from the minute you bond with Jim Cooper early on. You understand him, sympathise with him, all the time wishing you knew him and could give him a cuddle. You feel his pain and joy and you learn some hard lessons about life along the way.
Characters and dialogue are effortless here, a lesson in how to get inside a POV and pull the reader along on their journey.
It's not a boys book, nor a girls book, i think it's a genre on it's own. Either way, it's a bloody good read and worth three squid of anyone's money. Danny Gillan can write, I just wonder, rather like his character, if he realises how much of a gem he is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, sad and uplifting. 9 April 2011
By TopCat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Scratch is the story of Jim Cooper, as told by him. He works in a call centre, fobbing off customers and has been plodding along until one day a complaint letter appears from an ex's dad. This sparks something in Jim who decides it is time for a fresh start. He leaves his job, with nothing new lined up and sells his flat to clear his debts rendering himself homeless. Age 33 he finds himself living at home again, and working back in the same pub he was working in 12 years earlier - not exactly progress!

However ex Paula's crazy dad befriends him and reveals that she is moving back to Glasgow (with her husband) When she comes back she announces to Jim that her marriage is all but over, and that she loves him, but she can't leave her husband until his seriously ill grandad either recovers or dies. Jim being newly grown up insists on no sex until she has told him, while she insists they keep their non-affair a secret.

The book is is very funny in places, getting me laughing out loud on the train. I loved Jim's relationship with best friend Terry which was a good source of humour, as was Paula's Bruce Lee mad, lonely dad. It was also touching and sad, as Jim and Paula struggle to renew their relationship in less than ideal circumstances. By turns it was also uplifting and made me smile. Seeing the change in Jim's relationship with his parents made me really happy for all three of them. I suppose that must mean the characters were well-drawn, to make me feel like that. Jim is certainly likeable and he and his group of friends and colleagues certainly reminded me of people I have known and been friends with.

If you don't like bad language in your books you'd be well advised not to pick this one up, it gets a bit colourful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch - Loved this book
Having enjoyed reading Danny Gillan's first book, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, I decided to move onto his second novel, ‘Scratch’. Read more
Published 3 months ago by L Lanir
4.0 out of 5 stars a bland diary
Barely anything happens. An easy read though. But I found myself getting so board with the tedious, bland emptiness of the main characters life. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Paula griffith
4.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
As a I was born and bred in Glasgow some of the locations mentioned were familiar. Some of the humour and sayings were pure Glasgow at it best. Loved it,.
Published 6 months ago by Catherine Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars My Review :)
This is a wonderful story with actual real to life characters. Jim takes a leap of faith and starts his life over from scratch. You identify with him, and cheer him on. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ?wazithinkin
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great story
I laughed I cried but I finished it optimistic.
It was well written and a great good feel story, thank you
Published 10 months ago by Sheenah Edmonds
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Observed Moments
This one by the author had fewer mistakes than his last one, although it wasn't immune. Andi McDowell was spelt as an Andy and there were some apostrophe errors and hyphens added... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lynda Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Chick Lit for men
This book provides an entertaining read with a likeable first person narrative voice. There are some well written comic situations, but overall the will they, won't they narrative... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I got this book recently as a free ebook. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't laugh out loud but it was written how life is - at times funny and at times quite depressing. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kindle Worm
4.0 out of 5 stars Chick lit from a man's perspective
Jim in this book is not a total loser, but he is a wanker (definition here someone who is better than he thinks he is so is always putting himself down - I think). Read more
Published 22 months ago by Happyface
2.0 out of 5 stars Anything but funny
I found this a sad read, not because it was a boring long-drawn-out info dump, not because the main character came across as a witless moron, not because of the sometimes confusing... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Endeavour
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An idiot is someone oblivious to their weaknesses; a wanker is someone oblivious to their strengths. &quote;
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Even if, as often seemed to be the case, your journey ends first and you reach the summit ahead of your travelling companion, you take a minute to catch your breath and then, if you’re a conscientious team player, grab hold of that rope and keep &quote;
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Taking that trip, climbing that mountain with someone close, was life’s greatest adventure; you share the highs and the lows, and chances are you’ll both make mistakes along the way; you take direction when you get lost; you gratefully accept pointers to the best hand-holds when they’re offered; you provide what scant support you can, if and when required. Most importantly, you take pleasure in the surprises you meet, and comfort in the parts that, though familiar, have subtly weathered and changed since the last time you were there. &quote;
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