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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2017
I chose this book because I was brought up in several districts in Glasgow and could relate to the setting of the book.
The author describes her life and relationships very well and her love of her aunt and the special bond between them.
An easy read! But respectful ending!
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on 28 June 2017
Great book
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on 28 April 2000
Comedy and tragedy rolled into one, Meg Henderson transports the reader back to the slums of Glasgow. The story begins in the 50's when rationing was in still in progress after the war, and the author describes day to day life in fascinating detail. On first impressions, this appears to be a book written by a woman, about women. However as she reveals the awful injustice of her beloved and gentle Aunt Peggy's death, the true message of the book is unfolded before you. This book is about far more than slums, poverty or escaping them. This book has something to give us all, man and woman, regardless of ethnic or economic background. Meg Henderson's words proudly and ever so subtly rise like a pheonix from the ashes, forcing the reader to examine their own attitudes and prejudices, and how they can ultimately affect those we meet in our professional and personal lives.
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on 13 October 2001
Being Glaswegian, Finding Peggy applealed to me as I had been far from home for many months and craved some familiarity. I certainly found that, but I was not prepared for the rollercoaster emotions that accompanied it. I read the book in one sitting and my friend actually thought I had lost the plot as I was roaring with laughter at one stage and honestly sobbing my heart out only hours later. The book excels because the charecters are so vividly described. I could just see Nan and Peggy howling with laughter, clutching each other for support with tears running down their faces. You begin to understand the joy that exists in Meg's working class life thanks to these wonderful women. The effect of Peggy's tragic death was like a bomb: so completely unexpected, it left a huge hole that could never be filled. It is the author's description of this tragedy and of how it practically stopped her mother's life in it's tracks that is so utterly heartbreaking. The loss of someone so dear in such awful circumstances is a situation everyone can imagine, and this makes the story very, very affecting. The book is not without hope though, as Meg triumphs, not only for herself but for her Mum, so that she can see her daughter having all the happiness she could never find.
In all, this is an absorbing, affecting read but be prepared to feel emotionally weary at it's end. And you won't forget it for a while either.
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on 20 February 2010
I bought this book some time ago but wasnt sure if it was my kind of read, I dont like books on cruelty, I thought this might be one of those books. I found it hard to get into on the 1st. few pages as there was lots of describing stuff on who was who in this big family but then it was plain sailing, I was really enjoying this interesting little book, no cruelty just good clean reading. Exciting bits and history of Glasgow thru the eyes of a young girl growing up. Theres warmth and lots of laughs. A mother whos a real battleaxe. She takes on everyones problems, she has lots of affection for everyone. this is easy to follow. A must for family reads. I carried this around as I was preparing dinner, just couldnt put it down. A few tears at the end so girls get the tissues ready, O.K. Recommended, Brilliant, Brilliant.
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on 25 November 2009
Such a sad story, but determination enabled this mystery to be solved and allowed Peggy's family the closure they so deservedly needed. Written from the heart. A thoroughly good read. I just wish that it had been fiction and not a true heartbreaking account.
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on 3 March 2010
Early chapters of the book I enjoyed, but unfortunately when the author drew on her own experiences in later/working life I found the book very tedious and found myself "speed reading" to find out the actual details of the unfortunate end of one of the main characters. Pity about the final 100 pages or so but feel her personal stories were only there to fill pages...sorry
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on 8 October 2001
I bought this book fully intending to pop it in with my eighty year old Mothers Christmas presents this year. She, being a Glaswegian , would , I thought, probably like this well reviewed book by Meg Henderson . I opened it when it arrived from Amazon Books and glanced through the pages and that was it! I could not put the blessed thing down! It was just as the reviewers had said it was - riviting, hilarious in parts sad and dramatic in others and a look at family life, ties and differences etc.. I felt exhausted at the end having read it - not just because I read it from cover to cover in such a short space of time but because I felt I had "lived" the book myself through Megs' words !
Mother got the book yesterday - Christmas is too far away and it would be cruelty not to let her read it at once.
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on 22 July 2013
I First read this wonderful book yrs ago and it affected me so much; joy, sadness, laughter, nostalgia and shock. It is superbly written and brings back so many childhood memories. YOu actually feel you are right there with Meg as she goes through life. It is one, if not thee best books I Have ever read, so good that Pegy's story stayed with me for many yrs till I had to read it again just a month ago. Yet again I was profoundly affected by it and was just as shocked by Peggy's death as when first read. I would highly recommend this book and once read think you will find that you will want to read all Meg Henderson's books.
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on 18 March 2011
This is one of those books that you can't put down. Meg Henderson's easy style of writing carries you along at a steady pace. You look forward to the next chapter.

Although the families depicted here lived in slums and were prone to illnesses due to the squalid conditions and poverty, their humour shines through. My particular favourite is the one-legged Uncle Hughie. What happened on the day he lost his leg and how he coped with it over the years, is perhaps one of the funniest parts of this book.

But behind this facade of Glasgow humour lies undercurrents of sadness and depression. Alcoholism brought the threat of violence, gangs roamed the streets religious sectarianism was (and still is) rife. Mothers struggled to put food on the table for their children. Ignorance and illiteracy hampered the development of the children and it was hard for a gifted child to flourish in such harsh conditions.

The trio, Nan (Meg's mother), Peggy and Meg formed a close friendship, even though Meg was only a child. Meg's joy when recounting the trio's get-to-gethers is so apparent. Peggy was a bright, happy lady, but hopelessly romantic. She was an attractive woman deserving of a loving protective man, instead she endured misery at the hands of a man that would never appreciate her qualities.

When Peggy died in 1959 under mysterious circumstances, Meg's life was shattered, and over a short period of time, her child eyes saw through the hypocrisy of the adults and she was disgusted by the lack of support and protection from her father. Meg grew strong inwardly and fought hard to get out of the rut.

Her story is at times funny, very uplifting and deeply sad. But you get the impression that despite the disadvantages and with the support of her mother, Meg shone through to become strong in character and able to face whatever the world could throw at her.

You don't have to be Scottish or Glaswegian to enjoy this book. Indeed, if you are of a certain age, you may have first hand experience of the housing, education and health issues described in this book in your part of the UK, or anywhere in the world where such conditions still exist.

As a Glaswegian, I can relate to to Meg Henderson's early days as I came from a poor family and lived in squalid conditions. I am four years younger than Meg, brought up in the slums in the east end of Glasgow. My mother lived in Blackhill in the 1980s and I frequented the Crystal Bells bar at Glasgow Cross occasionally. It looks as if I have followed Meg's footsteps passing by the same Glasgow Landmarks. But I never experienced the hardships that Meg has suffered or the pain of losing such a close loved one during her early years.

If I had to pick nits with this book, then I'd have to say that there is a huge chunk missing. I thought at first that my Kindle version had omitted chapters. Meg had finally got out of Glasgow and was heading to India to do voluntary work. The apple of her eye, Rab, was unobtainable.

Then suddenly, we were left with the Epilogue. Meg had married (was it to the same elusive Rab?) and is now living in the East coast of Scotland. We finally get closure on Meg's quest to find out what really happened on the day that Peggy died. But it seemed to me that something was taken out. I enjoyed the end of the book but I wanted to know more about how a strong-willed Glasgow woman stamped her presence in India.
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