So Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma has arrived at Bedsheets & Biscuit Crumbs, and I have to say that so far it has been inspiring to follow the book on its blog tour, and very interesting to read the discussions it has provoked on the blogs that have welcomed it. I have admired and enjoyed Kerry Hudson’s answers regarding both writing and the book itself, and by how the tour has given readers, as well as writers, insights into a world that is often a faintly glamorous mystery. Regretfully I decided not to interview Kerry for my blog, it wasn’t that I didn’t have any questions to ask, but really I had too many and it would have been a stupendously large post. Instead I thought it best to concentrate on the book itself, mainly because it is a marvellous read.
For starters I will give you a quick bio (because we all like to be nosey) and also a short blurb (because it’s a good’un…)
Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel. Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma is her first novel. Kerry now lives, writes and works in London.
When Janie Ryan is born, she's just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she'd be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma's swollen belly. In the hospital, her family approached her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether they'd had booze or food for breakfast. It was mostly booze.
Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can't help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what. Told in an arrestingly original -- and cry-out-loud funny -- voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life's great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future. And Janie Ryan, born and bred for combat, is ready to win.
I read Tony Hogan in a day, I read it hungrily, and ate up the words like the chips Janie eats on a regular basis. I simply thought it was a great story, from beginning to end. It lures you in with sentences like:
‘When January came with its winter winds biting through to our bones things has changed; I’d started proper school and hadn’t gotten into trouble, except when Mrs. Brown, our teacher, caught Davey humping on top of me and I said we were playing mammies and uncles.’
Who could resist such frank prose? Or the word humping (a word I believe is in desperate need of a resurgence).
Although the book has darkness, it also has a healthy dose of humour too, which brings the characters ever closer into the reader’s psyche, and allows an intimacy to develop, especially between the reader and Janie as we follow her as she grows into an adult, and begins to make decisions of her own. But the strength of the book lies in the drama; the endless moves and terrible relationships, the fights, the make-ups, the love of a mother for her children, or between a daughter and her absent father. It is a great story, very cleverly told, and wonderfully written and I really cannot recommend it enough. So please do purchase the book, you’ll devour it as I did.
It also has a beautiful front cover (as a book geek I was most impressed.)
Thank you for coming and having a read today, and for something extra special Kerry Hudson has organised a wonderful competition that you can get involved in.
This prize draw is open to anyone who hosts or comments on a Tony Hogan post. There is no purchase necessary. There is no limit to how many times a name can be entered i.e. if you comment on three blogs you have three entries but it's only possible to win one prize per person. The winning names will be drawn at random on Wednesday 1st August and announced on Kerry Hudson’s Tumblr blog and on Twitter.
1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes consist of:
1st prize - A three chapter or synopsis critique plus afternoon tea at Beas of Bloomsbury, London (at a mutually beneficial date and time) with Juliet Pickering from the AP Watt Literary Agency to discuss your critique. Plus a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before he Stole My Ma.
2nd prize - A literary hamper containing a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma as well as three of my most recommended writing theory books and Hotel d Chocolate chocolates to enjoy while reading them.
3rd prize - A personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma.
Many thanks to Kerry Hudson for letting me ramble on about her book, and of course for writing it. Don’t forget, the tour continues tomorrow, stopping off at Sarah’s Book Reviews where Kerry will be discussing the inspiration for the book.
Here are some links if you would like to know more about Kerry Hudson and Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma:
AP Watt Literary Agency: www.apwatt.co.uk