I enjoy reading English trash detective novels. Some of them are really so implausible but put that away, you still want to find out who did it. I also like WWII and post WWII European spy novels. Over the last year, especially during lock down, I consumed a huge number of such books of little merit and enjoyed them. At the end of 2020 my second Kindle died and I started to read books on my phone.
I did at times intersperse them with other more serious books and I can't remember any of them. I also read a couple of proper books made of cardboard and paper and again I forget what they were, except for one Sister recently lent to me. Both R and myself devoured The Land Before Avocado in a couple of days, ok it was large print and not a long book. It was a great biographical read of my childhood, that is Australia in sixties, seventies and eighties. To prove the book title, I never knew what avocado was until I was in my twenties.
What a different Australia I grew up in. It was remarkable to be reminded of what a backward and insular country it was. EG, you as a woman married? You had to give leave your job. Young and attractive policemen entrapped gay men into sex and who were then prosecuted and newspapers named them. A woman's body was not her own and men dictated whether the fertilised egg within her should continue to fruition.
Ah, the good old days when there was no crime, paedophilia did not happen and best of all, women wore high heels while doing the housework and kept their mouths shut because their husband was a hard working provider. Sad to say, I think there is a bit of that old Australia still existing.
I sent the author of Land before Avocado, Richard Glover, a complimentary email and he kindly replied. Mother loves dog stories and films and she is reading his latest book Love, Clancy: a dog's letter home, lent to Mother by Sister. I expect I will read it.
But I needed to step up to class literature and the Booker prise winning author's work sounded pretty good. While it was never stated in the book, clearly Shuggy Bain was destined to be gay. He was different. I remember that. I was different.
Shuggy grew up as poor in Glasgow and there is no better book than No Mean City to know what poverty was like in Glasgow, albeit a few decades earlier.
Shuggy also grew up as a kid who did not fit into the norms as a probably future gay man. Just like me, he always dodged a sports ball when it came in his direction and tried to not be in the field of play.
It is not a cheerful book but brutally honest and I do recommend it.
The star character in his book is his attractive alcoholic mother, who would pass out drunk each night in the middle of sex with a stranger for beer or vodka money or on her own, or with a couple of different partners at times, and appear in the street the next day beautifully coiffed, made up and dressed. She appeared too posh for where she lived. Shuggy was always there with her, supporting her and helping her until she died from alcohol abuse at a youngish age. I both loved her and hated her as I read the book. The characters in the book were all very strong and none were left out without a proper description.
I think the book was autobiographical and 'Shuggy' went on to be a successful American fashion designer.