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4.8 out of 5 stars29
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 September 2012
How good it is to see a poet engaging with an occurrence of this nature, a shocking murder. Why? Because these things happen and, while we perhaps grow inured to seeing on television the emotional fallout resulting from murder, it does not often happen that painters, musicians or poets tackle such an event, if at all. And each form of artistic endeavour can bring its own tools to bear on the subject. So Armitage does it by imaginatively entering into Sophie Lancaster's own character and experience. He does this beautifully, deploying rhythm, rhyme, words, the structure and spacing of the lines, evoking both the ordinariness and uniqueness of this young person, culminating in the horror of her final moments. The poet permits us to see murder through the perceptions of the person who is murdered, something which of course can never happen in reality. And, at the same time, the poem is a sad but vital commemoration of the young girl whose life was so violently cut short. It allows us to know her.
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on 13 August 2015
From the point of view of a goth who lives only a couple of towns away from where Sophie was murdered, this was something which touched myself & many of my friends. Simon Armitage has written an extremely touching, poignant & thought provoking short play. I went to see it performed at The Royal Exchange Theatre last year, with Julie Hesmondhalgh & Rachel Austin playing Sylvia & Sophie. I had already read this book, but the performance made it so much more heartbreaking (especially as I met Sylvia as we were waiting to go in). My cousin & I wept from the very beginning.

If you can see the play when they tour it again, please do. If not, the play is well worth reading. You don't have to be goth, punk, emo etc. You just need to be human to know how what a person wears should not be reason for name calling, let alone such intolerable acts of violence.

Simon Armitage also, kindly, donates some of the profits from the (reasonably priced) book to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. SOPHIE (Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere). RIP our beautiful black rose.
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on 28 May 2013
Armitage proves that the written word, and poetry in particular, can still be a strong tool of social criticism. By beautifully evoking, but not pigeon-holing, the character of Sophie Lancaster, the poet implies the dehumanization of the perpetrators of the act more strongly than any outright attack could hope. Kudos to the author, and compassion to all those who knew S.L.
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on 28 September 2012
What an amazing book. A very emotive and powerful read. It makes you feel like you've connected and understood Sophie. Sections iii and iv are so descriptive and elements of those sections resonate with when I was growing up. Section x).... make sure you have tissues.
Personally I think this book should be added to the school curriculum. Whilst you can't make every child/teenager read what's on the curriculum or completely remove violence and attitude, I think this book would get across the impacts that actions can have.
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on 14 August 2012
Buy this book now, simple as that, should be required reading in all schools, Armitage gets into the head and life of Sophie Lancaster , this will tug at your heartstrings, your conscience and everything inbetween, be prepared to be astounded by this fabulous book.
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on 7 August 2013
It's sx years since this beautiful girl was taken from us, a lot of good is being done in her memory and work like this helps perpetuate that. I'll be spending time in the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bllodstock this weekend.
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on 16 February 2014
This poem will get under your skin like no other. It charts the life of one girl , a girl we all know. It makes you remember your own teenage years when you felt as if you didn't quite belong in the world yet. It painfully describes how a life can be cut short in the blink of an eye. It displays a sense of realism rarely found in prose. It is quite beautiful and I hope it gave and continues to give comfort to Sophie's family
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on 13 December 2014
Being a part of the Gothic subculture I have followed these events since they happened. I have donated to the charity and I have joined marches through Plymouth in memory of Sophie. This collection of poems truly moved me, it did not matter that the poetry wasn't written in a style I'm more used to, I still very much enjoyed them and believe more people should read them. The subject matter brought tears to my eyes and the last poem made my heart ache. After recently becoming a mum myself I can not even begin to imagine the pain her family felt when she slipped away from them. Even though I did not know Sophie I still feel connected to her and am unbelievably sad that she was taken from this world in such a brutal and disgusting way...just because she and her boyfriend were different.
This is a beautiful collection, handled in a very sensitive way, I hope for this to reach more people as things need to change.
Rest in peace beautiful Sophie.
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on 9 September 2015
Love is not really the word as it is harrowing and utterly brilliant. A testimony to the horrific attack on a young girl by a gang of thugs for no other reason than she was different. I saw it staged and the whole audience was in tears. I wanted the script because I believe it to be a very important work. Written by Simon Armitage from interviews with the mother and from Sophie's diary. It is not comfortable but it NEEDS TO BE READ AND TALKED ABOUT. A sad testimony of our times.
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on 27 January 2016
Everyone should read this, taught in schools, repeated on radio or in drama hall every year.

I was pregnant with my first daughter when I heard about Sophie, and 9 years later I can't and won' t forget her. I found this book and read it immediately, it is an incredibly powerful piece of writing, but reading about Sophie as a baby, her Mum by her side at hospital and it is truly heartbreaking. With love to Sylvia and family x
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