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Shocking and funny in equal measure, and will have you weeping with laughter and sorrow (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday)
The wonderful story of a remarkable man, Maggie & Me is heartbreaking and heartwarming. As gripping as a thriller, laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, this book will resonate long after you finish it. A triumph (SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep)
Out of poverty, brutality and prejudice, Damian Barr builds something riveting, touching and painfully funny. His account of growing up under Thatcher's regime defines the experience of a generation. At once personal and universal, Maggie & Me is a work of stealthy genius (Maggie O’Farrell)
A marvellous memoir - wrenching, funny and wise. I loved it! (Joanne Harris)
This amazing book tells the story of an appalling childhood with truth and clarity unsmudged by self-pity. It grips from beginning to end and leaves the reader elated at the fact that such experiences can be overcome and produce a man who can write a book so vivid, so unsentimentally forgiving, and so memorable (Diana Athill)
This book will break your heart and make you angry; then it will lift your heart and make you glad; because Damian Barr has transmuted a grim childhood into a work of art and brought forth beauty from ashes (Richard Holloway)
That Damian Barr survived his childhood is testament to his startling courage and determination.That he was then able to write about the experience with such wit, verve and candour is equally astonishing. Maggie & Me is a cause for celebration on all kinds of levels. Rejoice! (Rupert Thomson)
Damian Barr sifts through the wreckage of a horrific childhood and manages to extract humour, generosity of spirit and ultimately joy, and he does it with a literary élan that had me re-reading whole paragraphs, just for the pleasure of it.
To say I loved it doesn't begin to convey the mixture of emotions - tears, laughter, anger - I felt while reading it. This book should be required reading for children who need to know that there is life beyond an appalling beginning, and for politicians who prefer to look the other way(Jojo Moyes author of Me Before You)
It's 12 October 1984. An IRA bomb blows apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Miraculously, Margaret Thatcher survives. In small-town Scotland, eight-year-old Damian Barr watches in horror as his mum rips her wedding ring off and packs their bags. He knows he, too, must survive.
Damian, his sister and his Catholic mum move in with her sinister new boyfriend while his Protestant dad shacks up with the glamorous Mary the Canary. Divided by sectarian suspicion, the community is held together by the sprawling Ravenscraig Steelworks. But darkness threatens as Maggie takes hold: she snatches school milk, smashes the unions and makes greed good. Following Maggie's advice, Damian works hard and plans his escape. He discovers that stories can save your life and - in spite of violence, strikes, AIDS and Clause 28 - manages to fall in love dancing to Madonna in Glasgow's only gay club.
Maggie & Me is a touching and darkly witty memoir about surviving Thatcher's Britain; a story of growing up gay in a straight world and coming out the other side in spite of, and maybe because of, the iron lady.
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