Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words
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Kate Rigby is a Liverpudlian by birth, but now resides in Devon. She has been writing for over thirty years, producing fourteen novels and a variety of short stories, many of which are published.
After a family tragedy, Kit moves in with his Aunt Lil whilst his parents recover. The area he temporarily relocates to, in Liverpool, couldn’t be more different to where he’s left and he soon comes under the gaze of local troublemaker, Terry Dacosta. However the boys become firm friends as each aspires to the other’s life.
I’ve previously reviewed (and thoroughly enjoyed) two other of her books, both proved very diverse. Suckers n Scallies was different again.
Kit is a good kid, from a good background. Terry is the opposite. How the two spark off each other is fascinating. Kate explores the boys’ lives, how each influences the other. Kit has to come to terms with his loss and the implications of it. He seems more at home in his temporary accommodation than he ever did at home, he’s almost a fish out of water. Terry, on the other hand, lives in a tough family with a domineering father and is drawn to Kit’s more comfortable existence.
Through the novel there are shifts in time and place, occurring at irregular periods. The action largely occurs in Liverpool in 1968, showing the boys growing up. However the author also places Terry and Kit as adults in the present day (the 1990’s, but I don’t believe the exact date is specified) and moves the action along accordingly, drawing parallels and showing how their lives have changed, yet haven’t. It was a little challenging to deal with the shifts and took some time to get used to, however for me it ultimately provided another layer to the story and enriched it, certainly worth the ‘effort’.
I’m not familiar with Liverpool (I was only a child when I briefly lived in the area) but you don’t need to be. The author paints a strong image of the place both from an appearance and cultural perspective. She also draws the local accent in and uses it to colour the picture. The characters are very strong.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Kate Rigby has a style all to herself. Suckers n Scallies will not appeal to every reader, but I suspect the author would be more than comfortable with this.
English regional accenting used.
Rating: **** Four Stars