Talk Of The Toun by Helen MacKinven


Book Description:

‘She was greetin’ again. But there’s no need for Lorraine to be feart, since the first day of primary school, Angela has always been there to mop up her tears and snotters.’

An uplifting black comedy of love, family life and friendship, Talk of the Toun is a bittersweet coming-of-age tale set in the summer of 1985, in working class, central belt Scotland.

Lifelong friends Angela and Lorraine are two very different girls, with a growing divide in their aspirations and ambitions putting their friendship under increasing strain.

Artistically gifted Angela has her sights set on art school, but lassies like Angela, from a small town council scheme, are expected to settle for a nice wee secretarial job at the local factory. Her only ally is her gallus gran, Senga, the pet psychic, who firmly believes that her granddaughter can be whatever she wants.

Though Lorraine’s ambitions are focused closer to home Angela has plans for her too, and a caravan holiday to Filey with Angela’s family tests the dynamics of their relationship and has lifelong consequences for them both.

Effortlessly capturing the religious and social intricacies of 1980s Scotland, Talk of the Toun is the perfect mix of pathos and humour as the two girls wrestle with the complications of growing up and exploring who they really are.

‘Fresh, fierce and funny…a sharp and poignant study of growing up in 1980s Scotland. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…you’ll cringe.’ KAREN CAMPBELL

My Thoughts:

Talk of the Toun is a fairly humorous read which brought back lots of memories for me. Anyone that lives in Scotland or like me used to will easily remember or know of square sausage’s and Mother Pride bread. It’s something I still buy when ever I am up there. Even though I was born in England it didn’t take long before I picked up the slang words and was asking my mum for a piece and jam of which I had to explain what a piece was. Was certainly like taking a walk down memory lane reading this novel.

The whole story line is set around Angela and her friendship with her life long friend, Lorraine. I have to admit as characters go I wasn’t really taken with any of them, the only character I really liked was Angela’s gran. She is a wonderful character and you know if you ever had a problem she would be the one you would turn to. Even though she is a lot older than the rest of the people in Angela’s life she is a lot wiser and there is a lovely bond between both of them.

The age that Angela and Lorraine are in the story is an age where a lot of us can probably relate to it being not the easiest of ages. For me, Angela and Lorraine came across as both being a bit selfish, but hey who wasn’t in their teens? Angela did remind me slightly of myself at that age. It was always my friends that were the popular ones with boys as is the case with Lorraine being the popular one. You could easily relate to the frustration that Angela felt at being suddenly left out in the cold as her friend is all loved up and through Lorraine’s new relationship she starts to hang around with other girls and pretty much ignores Angela.

It is sad when friendships drift apart, especially as in the case of Angela and Lorraine who have been best friends all through their school life. It makes you remember your childhood friendships and makes you ponder over that time in your life. As much as this novel is quite funny it is also very thought provoking.

Talk of the Toun was a very enjoyable read and very much look forward to reading more by the author.

Many thanks to ThunderPoint for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have awarded this book 4/5 stars.

Talk of the Toun is available to purchase from Amazon.

7 thoughts on “Talk Of The Toun by Helen MacKinven”

  1. This sounds like my cup of tea! (I’ve actually just had a piece and jam as I was feeling too lazy to eat anything else!) All the best with the book Helen! David F Ross’s Last Days Of Disco brought back memories of the same era.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s very funny Sarah – and had a few sad bits too. But it too has all sorts of things that’ll come back to you! Talk Of The Toun is also on The Writes Of Women’s list, although she’s got two – one for books published in 2015, and one for others – I’m not sure which one it was on, but she loved it too, and her taste is excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

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