It is 1978. Jess and her mother, Eleanor, struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth - a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn't want to know. So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess jump at the chance. But friends can become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.
©2015 Joanna McMillan (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd
I was active in CND and travelled to East Berlin in the same period and was rather bemused my East German had never heard of Leon Trotsky. I didn't share the protagonist's delusion in a workers' paradise behind the Iron Curtain and feel the story would have been more authentic with a female Citizen Smith style character rather than the daughter of a tankie (fundamentalists who supported the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia). Rebellious youngsters seldom follow their parents' political persuasion. Nonetheless the book offers great insights into the crazy world of left-wing activists and the dreariness of 1980s Middle England.
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