6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Ghost Children (Paperback)
Sue Townsend is a superb author. In this true-to-life tale, Townsend describes her central characters without judgement, leaving the reader to decide. There are no heroes here, but real people who in one way or another are all victims of poverty, ignorance, addiction, loss, or grief. The story centres on two couples: Angela and Christopher who were together seventeen years ago until a difficult abortion forced them apart, and Tamara and Crackle, a young mother with learning difficulties, her crack-addicted boyfriend, and their toddler, Storme, named after a character from the 90s Tv show, Gladiators. All of this is set in a stark wintry landscape around an unnamed East Midlands town. If this sounds too grim for words, please don't give up before you start. The story line, dark though it may be, draws the reader in, and there are a couple of wry twists in the very tail end.
An unexpected quality emerges on reading this book for the first time, twelve years after publication: the Britain Townsend describes already seems vanished: no more Woolworths pick-n-mix, no more shabby charity shops selling a golf ball next to a single sock and a dog bowl. No more cameras with film that must be waited for to be developed. Even the Greasy Spoon cafes and the high street travel agents are on the way out. If, as Philip Larkin says, That will be England gone, I can think of no finer way to to document its passing.