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Talk of the Toun Paperback – 28 Oct 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: ThunderPoint Publishing Limited (28 Oct. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0992976871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0992976873
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 820,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wasn't a teenager in the 80s - far from it - but that’s irrelevant. If you lived through the decade, regardless of your age, in Talk of the Toun by Helen MacKinven, you will recognise the authenticity of the author’s story-telling. That said – how well the 80s are evoked! – by a writer with her finger on the pulse and her recollections intact and acutely observed.

This is a thoroughly original and convincing book. Right from the beginning, Angela and Lorraine light up the page. They occupy it, as does the reader. I was there, remembering how I sometimes felt about myself when I was a teenager. Because the themes in this book are universal and when you were a teenager isn’t the point. It’s the recognisable vulnerability of the two central characters that makes the story - in spite of its colloquial dialect - such a readable book.

Writing in vernacular is always risky. The author has pulled it off with aplomb. I loved the challenge of the dialogue (which quickly became second nature anyway.) I loved the bleakness and the humour; the tragedy, the sense of redemption and the sheer audacity of this book.

Angela and Lorraine, best friends and co-conspirators; embarking on life after school in 80s Scotland, on the wrong side of the tracks. This is blighted, black comedy at its finest.

A highly recommended début from a talented writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I grew up on a housing estate in central Scotland, so it was like being taken back in time to read this brilliant, poignant, funny book. It's a raw, honest coming of age story and I loved it. Brilliant characterisation and the sense of place was amazing. I've recommended it to all my friends. Looking forward to the next novel by Helen MacKinven.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well worth a read, very funny
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Format: Kindle Edition
Talk of the Toun is a fairly humorous read which brought back lots of memories for me. Anyone that lives in Scotland or like me used to will easily remember or know of square sausage's and Mother Pride bread. It's something I still buy when ever I am up there. Even though I was born in England it didn't take long before I picked up the slang words and was asking my mum for a piece and jam of which I had to explain what a piece was. Was certainly like taking a walk down memory lane reading this novel.

The whole story line is set around Angela and her friendship with her life long friend, Lorraine. I have to admit as characters go I wasn't really taken with any of them, the only character I really liked was Angela's gran. She is a wonderful character and you know if you ever had a problem she would be the one you would turn to. Even though she is a lot older than the rest of the people in Angela's life she is a lot wiser and there is a lovely bond between both of them.

The age that Angela and Lorraine are in the story is an age where a lot of us can probably relate to it being not the easiest of ages. For me, Angela and Lorraine came across as both being a bit selfish, but hey who wasn't in their teens? Angela did remind me slightly of myself at that age. It was always my friends that were the popular ones with boys as is the case with Lorraine being the popular one. You could easily relate to the frustration that Angela felt at being suddenly left out in the cold as her friend is all loved up and through Lorraine's new relationship she starts to hang around with other girls and pretty much ignores Angela.

It is sad when friendships drift apart, especially as in the case of Angela and Lorraine who have been best friends all through their school life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As a teenager myself in the eighties I loved this book. Helen MacKinven's attention to detail and many 80s references brought back so many memories. I thought this was an excellent portrayal of teenage friendship. All the angst, uncertainty, jealousy, trauma and worry of a typical teen was laid out in the friendship between Angela and Lorraine. They have been friends since Primary One and over the course of the book we see that friendship tested to breaking point. Angela is a character you will really empathise with. She is a talented artist and dreams of going to art school. But in her poor, working class area that just doesn't happen and her parents want her to get a job as soon as possible. Only her Gran, Senga, believes in her and encourages her in her ambition. And what a brilliant character Senga is: she is really down-to-earth, but caring and wise. I would love to know her life story - I bet it would be hilarious! Some darker aspects of 80s life are also exposed in the book and it was sobering to remember the casual racism, sexism and less than understanding attitudes to disability that prevailed.

If, like me, you were a child of the 80s and fancy a trip down memory lane that will make you smile, laugh and possibly cry a little, you should definitely get yourself a copy of The Talk of the Toun.

(My thanks to the author who offered me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.)
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Format: Paperback
The events, as described in this book, play out over the summer of 1985. The book follows two friends, who are steadily growing up but at the same time they are also growing steadily apart. Angela, the narrator of the story, aspires to be an artist but she is being lined up for an office job. Her friends, Lorraine isn’t as ambitious. During the summer of 1985, Lorraine goes on holiday to Filey with Angela and her parents. An incident occurs during this holiday, which changes things for ever and effectively forces the girls to grow up.
I did really enjoy reading it. There is quite a bit of colloquial Scottish dialect but I found it easy enough to understand as I read ‘The Broons Annual’ (a Scottish publication), the dialect isn’t that far removed from the North Eastern English dialect and my Mam’s former best friend spoke broad Glaswegian.
The main characters in this book were well portrayed. At times I wanted to give Angela a good shake by her shoulders. She is a typical teenager in that she thinks that the whole world revolves around her. In other words only Angela matters, she treats adults and her parents like dirt and as though they are stupid, which is far from the case. She doesn’t listen to the views of others nor does she appreciate them. Angela doesn’t seem to appreciate that actions have consequences and what happens or what is said can’t be undone. Angela doesn’t appreciate how other might feel and thinks that she is the most important person. I sensed that Angela was best friends with Lorraine but she was also jealous of her in that Lorraine lives in more comfortable surroundings, Lorraine is thin, pretty and popular. Angela thinks that she is an adult where in reality she is an immature child.
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