â€˜Ah thought youâ€™d like tae have yer ain button box.â€™
â€˜But ahâ€™ve havenae got any buttons.â€™
â€˜We aw start with an empty box. Then life soon fills it up. Iâ€™ll give you a wee start. Take yer pick of the buttons.â€™
Talk of the Toun, debut novel from Helen MacKinven,Â is a compelling coming-of-age tale set in working-class Falkirk in the summer of 1985. Angelaâ€™s gran, Senga, the pet psychic, has always been her closest confidant and cheerleader when life gets tough. Every Friday evening, Angela helps look after Bimbo, her granâ€™s poodle, while her gran plays bingo. Angelaâ€™s second best friend is Lorraine, whom sheâ€™s known since they were four. They became friends on the first day of school when Lorraine lost her lunch money and began to cry, or greet as itâ€™s better known in Scots. For Mackinvenâ€™s story is skilfully told using Scots dialect, which adds flavour and authenticity without confusing non-native readers.
Angela and Lorraine are in their final year at school. Angela hopes to attend for one more year to help prepare her portfolio for art school. Not that sheâ€™ll be able to go as her parents would rather she take an office job; for them art is only a hobby. Lorraine has never been much good at studying, and her interests and new friendships begin to draw her away from Angela. When a sexy new guy named Stevie takes an interest in Lorraine, Angela is determined to ruin her chances.
Despite their growing apart, Lorraine is still going on holiday with Angela and her family in Filey. But can their friendship survive an entire week of each otherâ€™s company, not to mention Angela’sÂ quirky family?
Mackinvenâ€™s novel is honest, funny and full of humanity, which deserves to be called Talk of the Toun.
Talk of the Toun will be published by ThunderPoint Publishing Ltd.
Everyone is very welcome to the launchÂ onÂ Wednesday 28th October atÂ 7pm, in Behind the Wall, FalkirkÂ
Reveiewer. Kendra Olson, is the author of The Forest King’s Daughter. https://kendraolson.wordpress.comÂ Twitter @KendrarOlson