Middle-class Dunn slummed it in the early 60s and this, her portrayal of life in Battersea, resulted. A series of vignettes lifting the lid on poverty and the thin line between life and death in low class London, there is a real sense of 'carpe diem' through out. Alcohol is central to the concept of a good time. Sexual urges are acted upon and there is an acceptance that the male of the species is predatory. Abortions are common-place and are chosen (backstreet style) without contemplation or regret. Children are fed on cat food.
A real insight into lives that are lived with little chance of escape or improvement, told through the the dialogue of the local characters. Some times moving, often funny, almost always shocking, I found this slender book difficult to follow at times. The second half of the book is much stronger than the first.
Inevitably its publication caused an uproar in the 60s. Sadly much of the furore revolved around the loose sexual mores recorded in its pages and this rather overshadowed the more pressing truths of poverty and the changes in social housing forced upon such communities (so well documented forty years later in the excellent The Likes of Us: A Biography of the White Working Class).