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She's Leaving Home

Portico Prize, 2012

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781844086702

Price: £10.99

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Liverpool late 1950s. This is a story of three people: a suppressed mother; a father, projectionist at the local cinema which has seen better days; and their daughter Martha. It is a time of many escapes: Nureyev defects in London; Gagarin escapes the earth’s atmosphere to be the first man in space; the Beatles escape the dreariness of Liverpool to seek their fortune in Hamburg. In Britain the drab 50s are giving way to the lively 60s and the young sense it.

With shades of Billy Liar, and Absolute Beginners, this novel brilliantly captures that longing for freedom. Sixteen year old Martha is leaving home.

Reviews

'The author's astute observation underpins her clever, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant evocation of a coming of age'
Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times
'Bakewell is at her best evoking the excitement of the early days of television. Her most effective portraits are those of the Granada Studios. Bakewell vividly evokes the modernity of the building in Manchester, the vibrant atmosphere and the mingling of staff in the canteen . . . Bakewell's attention to detail is impeccable . . . [An] affectionate conjuring of an era gone by'
Samira Shackle, New Statesman
'Plenty of wry humour. Many of Joan Bakewell's observations and anecdotes also convey the distinct impression of personal experience - particularly once timid Martha reaches Liverpool, where she finds herself surprisingly at home among her new bohemian friends, her horizons broadened by such heady delights as poetry readings, CND protests, sex and Earl Grey tea'
Amber Pearson, Daily Mail
An accomplished writer of fiction on the evidence of this, her second novel . . . Bakewell conjures up Liverpool and a dreary nearby town in the early Sixties, sensitively portraying through her characterisation an era on the cusp between post-war privation and Sixties hedonism . . . Bakewell does capture both the intense self-absorption of the young and the disappointments of middle age in what is a very readable and perceptive novel
Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express
The author's astute observation underpins her clever, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant evocation of a coming of age
Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times
Bakewell is at her best evoking the excitement of the early days of television. Her most effective portraits are those of the Granada Studios. Bakewell vividly evokes the modernity of the building in Manchester, the vibrant atmosphere and the mingling of staff in the canteen ... Bakewell's attention to detail is impeccable... [An] affectionate conjuring of an era gone by
Samira Shackle, New Statesman
Plenty of wry humour. Many of Joan Bakewell's observations and anecdotes also convey the distinct impression of personal experience - particularly once timid Martha reaches Liverpool, where she finds herself surprisingly at home among her new bohemian friends, her horizons broadened by such heady delights as poetry readings, CND protests, sex and Earl Grey tea
Amber Pearson, Daily Mail
An accomplished writer of fiction on the evidence of this, her second novel ... Bakewell conjures up Liverpool and a dreary nearby town in the early Sixties, sensitively portraying through her characterisation an era on the cusp between post-war privation and Sixties hedonism ... Bakewell does capture both the intense self-absorption of the young and the disappointments of middle age in what is a very readable and perceptive novel
Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express