Friday, June 29, 2018

Generation Game

Generation Game by Sophie Duffy
Legend Times Group: 7/1/18 re-release
eBook review copy: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 9781787198547

Generation Game by Sophie Duffy is a highly recommended family drama. My review copy is a re-release of the novel originally published in 2011.

The novel opens in 2006 with Philippa Smith, who is in her forties, giving birth to her baby girl. Her husband has left her for someone more exciting and she is alone. She and her daughter are being kept in the hospital a bit longer.  She is very concerned about her daughter, but, also deciding that there will be no secrets, she begins to tell her life story, starting from her birth in 1965. At this point the chapters alternate between her childhood and growing up, and her present concerns with her newborn.

Written from Philippa's first person point-of-view, we are introduced to her mother, Helena, and their life together. They leave London after her birth and move to Torquay. Helena is a single parent too, so their life isn't easy. Eventually they live in Bob's Sweet shop where Helena works - until she abandons Philippa to live with Bob. The chapters in the 1960s and on are all giving the names of British TV programs that relate in some way to Philippa's life during those years.

With incredible writing, that is at various times touching, funny, sweet, and sad, Duffy reminds us that family consists of those who care about you, whether you are related by blood or not. The chapters covering Philippa's childhood set in the 1960's and 70's are exceptional. Philippa is well developed as a character in her childhood and after that the time seemed to move a bit more quickly, but perhaps that was done purposefully in order to mirror time passing by faster as you get older. There are also a couple of surprising secrets Philippa reveals or is told at the end of the novel. The secrets do show why Philippa is telling her whole story, beginning to present day, as events happened and with no secrets.

It was engaging for me to recall where I was, my age, and what was happening during those years for me as Philippa discusses the news worthy events during her life. (As I was born before her it was no great stretch to do this unless the pop culture reference was distinctly British.)

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Legend Times Group.

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