Thursday, 22 October 2015

Talk of the Toun by Helen MacKinven

Talk of the Toun
By Helen MacKinven
Published by Thunderpoint Publishing (29 October 2015)
ISBN: 978-0992976873

Publisher's description
Lifelong friends Angela and Lorraine are two very different girls, with a growing divide in their aspirations and ambitions putting their friendship under increasing strain.
Artistically gifted Angela has her sights set on art school, but lassies like Angela, from a small town council scheme, are expected to settle for a nice wee secretarial job at the local factory. Her only ally is her gallus gran, Senga, the pet psychic, who firmly believes that her granddaughter can be whatever she wants.
Though Lorraine’s ambitions are focused closer to home Angela has plans for her too, and a caravan holiday to Filey with Angela’s family tests the dynamics of their relationship and has lifelong consequences for them both.

My verdict
Talk of the Toun transported me back to the 1980s, reminding me of my own teenage years.

This is a story of Scottish working class families in 1985. It's a coming of age novel - how children's friendships change over the years and teenage girls grow up.

Angela and Lorraine have been friends since early childhood, although they come from two very different social backgrounds. Angela has always seen herself as Lorraine's protector, but now the girls are 17 and Lorraine is maturing at a faster rate than her friend. As school, boys and families exert different pressures on their lives, Angela is struggling to accept that the two friends are going in different directions. And she has yet to discover that she relies on her friend far more than she realises.

Talk of the Toun is a great laugh and fun to read, yet it also covers more serious underlying social issues. I found it easy to respond to the characters, and there are some very observant (and often hilarious) descriptions of people and places. I loved reminiscing about the 1980s clothes, hair, music and teenage lifestyle…

The book made me laugh and cry. And it's definitely one to remember.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Great review. It's on the wishlist. Think I'd enjoy reminiscing too x

  2. Ooh, yes, you must read it! Really made me think back to my own teenage years (and then worry as I have a teen and pre-teen now!).

  3. Ha ha parents should be banned from books about teenagers! Looking forward to the launch.