2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A cleverly constructed page-turner - dark, honest and warm, 9 Nov 2013
This novel is about being an alcoholic - but its also about being a teenager in North London - with voices so accurate, I felt transported back 25 years. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character in Hannah's life - and some of them stick in your memory long after you've finished the book - like Sammy, Hannah's first boyfriend, who makes you remember just how appealing the funny bad boys are when you're not yet 16. Campbell must spend a lot of time listening to the kids in his corner of the capital - because he perfectly captures that teenage sense of boredom on one hand and feeling every emotion like a knife through your skin on the other - and how you never really forget the first time you drink and the angst and excitement wrapped up in that.
If you've ever cared for someone on the edge, there's a lot you'll recognise in Hannah's friends, mother and sister - the fear you live and breathe and the unmatched highs when you glimpse the person you love again. There are plenty of blunt messages here about the way alcohol penetrates all sections of society but this is first and foremost a book you don't want to put down. Its dark, honest stuff - permeated by the author's own experience - but although you're desperate for Hannah never to touch another drop, its her glass half full outlook that makes you care so deeply about her fate.