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.
©2013 Damian Barr (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
This audio book brought the stories of Damian Barr to life for me, far more than if I'd read it myself.
There is a short reference to the local ice-cream van, and my own memories of chasing the ice-cream van flashed back. I had to stop reading and phone a friend.
Damian Barr is clearly the character in this book. I would not have enjoyed it had it not been read by the author.
There were many moments in this book that moved me. There were many that caused me great anguish and concern. At one point, I thought things were going to turn too nasty to continue reading.
I enjoyed this book and its narration. Afterwards, I phoned a few friends I went to school with back in the 1980s and we discussed may of the stories in the book. Crystal Gayle for example.
A Must Read.After listening to an interview on BBC Radio 4’s, Saturday Live, which featured an interview with the Author Damian Barr, I knew this was a book I had to read. When I first saw the cover, I was immediately brought back a few years when I’d spent a few hours browsing in Bloomsbury’s infamous bookstore Gays The Word bookstore. I remember at the time ignoring the book because of the prominent image of an all embracing Maggie Thatcher – I’m only sorry now that I didn’t buy the book back then. I decided to give the book a go, and as I was travelling on holiday I listened to it on Audible. It was certainly my book of the summer and I listened twice to the wonderful reading of Damian Barr himself. Every perception I had about this book was wrong. In many ways I could identify much of myself in Damian’s writing, having grown up in the same era and struggling with my acceptance of my sexuality in a time both politically and parochially when the gay issue was still very much taboo. This book made me laugh, it brought tears to my eyes and it left me with a sense of having been touched by the story and the author.This was clearly a brave book to have written, but with that bravery comes a trust that even in the midst of darkness, humanity has the strength to triumph and to become good and fulfilled. Like a good story, it will have you hooked from the start, and if you’re like me you’ll want to read it or listen to it again. Thank you Damian for sharing it with us – Brilliant Read from a great author.
What made this title so good, was it was read by the author Damian Barr. He lived it, suffered it, then had the balls to write it.
I loved this story, because it finds humour in the adversity of a terrible childhood and adolescence. When you listen / read this book, the listener is so busy laughing they completely forget how terrible Damian Barr's circumstances really were. I don't know if this is typical of the Scot's attitude to life or whether it is an intrinsic part of their Celtic make up.
This story is endearing, exciting, funny and overall a very enjoyable way to spend 7 hours and 27 minutes. While listening, I was entertained and really felt a connection to story teller’s dry humour and witty banter. It was so enjoyable to hear all the fantastic Scottish-isms and the insight into how hard it must have been to grow up in an area of deprivation during the time that Thatcher was in power.
It was really nice how Damien is introduced and the listener learns more about him as he learns more about himself as he grows up. The realisation that he is growing up gay in a difficult time in a difficult part of the country make you feel very close to him.
The performance of the reader was perfect. His delivery was warm, funny, honest and occasionally bitchy which added perfectly to the story.
It was difficult not to laugh heartily out loud at some points (embarrassing if listening while on the tube). Really felt that by the end you knew exactly what Heather, Granny Barr and Teeny would have been like if you met them in real life!
Overall, excellent, I would recommend this to anyone.
"I didn't want it to end."
Damien's story is heart breaking but written with reflective humour and hope. It is wonderful to hear him narrate his own story. I loved this book.
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