HORSES SWEAT AND MEN PERSPIRE, BUT LADIES ONLY GLOW.
On World Book Day which was last week, Boy A by Jonathan Trigell was voted as THE Book to Talk About from a list of 10 contenders (to see the other books listed, click HERE) and I think it a worthy winner.
Boy A has chosen the name Jack Burridge for himself, his real name is never divulged, because Boy A is one of two lads who murdered another child when they were ten years old. Boy B was found dead by hanging whilst still in a Young Offenders Institution.
Now aged 24, Jack has been given a new identity and is tentatively beginning a life out in the real world. Jack has a job, and his minder/mentor who introduces himself to people as Jack’s Uncle Terry, has found him lodgings with a local woman. No-one knows his true background.
Boy A lives a very fragile life, terrified of relationships, never forgetting what he is guilty of having done. He is always aware that the tabloid press are relentless in their attempts to find him. When, because he and a workmate happen to be first on the scene of a terrible car smash, he saves the life of a little girl, he is hailed as a hero which he finds very frightening, as the local press send a photographer round to take their picture. He is also worried about having too much to drink in case he gives himself away, and when some of his workmates befriend him he has problems as they dabble with recreational drugs which are all off limits to him. Eventually he embarks on his first romantic relationship, which is also means a sexual relationship, something he has never had before. As events unfold the reader gets a real sense of foreboding, Jack is too vulnerable, his anonymity cannot be sustained indefinitely.
The story is very obviously based on the notorious case of the two boys who murdered James Bulger in
The author has skilfully managed to cover the complex attitudes society has towards children who kill; how they are seen as more monstrous than adult killers, and how many feel they should be punished incredibly harshly for the rest of their lives. On the whole the public seem uninterested in WHY these children would kill, as they are considered to be almost sub-human.
“She could remember at the time of the trial, everyone she knew was horrified, imagining what it would be like if their child had been murdered in such a way. No one had stopped to think about what it would be like if their child was the murderer. That was why the boys had to be evil, they had to be alien: other, demons”
The book will certainly give readers food for thought, and it would be a fantastic book club choice as it raises several very debatable points of view.
If I stub my toe, do I immediately look round to see who I can sue? Well no I don’t, but some people would. Scrolling through the BBC news website today I read an item which made me so mad I could spit.
Mr and Mrs Boardman are a couple in their eighties who live in
The Boardmans were shaken and distressed when they received the letter from this man’s solicitor, and I’m not surprised. It would distress me too. They say they would now be scared to summon the emergency services even if they need them. Accidents happen, you can’t always blame someone else, and it is just plain greedy to try and exhort money from frail elderly people because you fell over whilst doing your job.
What kind of crazy society have we become?
Supermarket shelves are stacked high with crisps, nuts, cheesy wotsits and other snacks for serving with drinks, but they are so expensive and greasy that I am on a bit of a campaign to find other appetisers. I can eat houmous 'til the cows come home, and am partial to taramasalata and bits of pitta bread too but after a while it is good to ring the changes. This is ever so easy and very moreish, veggie friends like it, and I kid myself that it is healthy too!
CANNELLINI BEAN MASH WITH CUMIN
2x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin (I use half ground cumin, and half cumin seeds)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons (approx) finely chopped fresh coriander.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the cumin and chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes stirring well – do not let the garlic brown.
Add the beans and mix all together well. Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from heat. Either mash the beans with a fork, adding the lemon juice and extra oil if it is too solid and dry, or whiz in a blender, so that it forms a rough puree. It should not be too smooth so do not over blend. Stir the chopped coriander into the bean mash. Season well to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with warm grilled bruschetta or toasted pita bread.
This is also delicious spread in sandwiches with sliced tomato and cucumber.