Author(s): Damian Barr
It's 12 October 1984. An IRA bomb blows apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Miraculously, Margaret Thatcher survives. In small-town Scotland, eight-year-old Damian Barr watches in horror as his mum rips her wedding ring off and packs their bags. He knows he, too, must survive. Damian, his sister and his Catholic mum move in with her sinister new boyfriend while his Protestant dad shacks up with the glamorous Mary the Canary. Divided by sectarian suspicion, the community is held together by the sprawling Ravenscraig Steelworks. But darkness threatens as Maggie takes hold: she snatches school milk, smashes the unions and makes greed good. Following Maggie's advice, Damian works hard and plans his escape. He discovers that stories can save your life and - in spite of violence, strikes, AIDS and Clause 28 - manages to fall in love dancing to Madonna in Glasgow's only gay club. Maggie & Me is a touching and darkly witty memoir about surviving Thatcher's Britain; a story of growing up gay in a straight world and coming out the other side in spite of, and maybe because of, the iron lady.
A unique, tender and witty memoir of surviving the tough streets of small town Scotland during the Margaret Thatcher years
A marvellous memoir - wrenching, funny and wise. I loved it! Joanne Harris The wonderful story of a remarkable man, Maggie & Me is heartbreaking and heartwarming. As gripping as a thriller, laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, this book will resonate long after you finish it. A triumph SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep Out of poverty, brutality and prejudice, Damian Barr builds something riveting, touching and painfully funny. His account of growing up under Thatcher's regime defines the experience of a generation. At once personal and universal, Maggie & Me is a work of stealthy genius Maggie O'Farrell This amazing book tells the story of an appalling childhood with truth and clarity unsmudged by self-pity. It grips from beginning to end and leaves the reader elated at the fact that such experiences can be overcome and produce a man who can write a book so vivid, so unsentimentally forgiving, and so memorable Diana Athill This book will break your heart and make you angry; then it will lift your heart and make you glad; because Damian Barr has transmuted a grim childhood into a work of art and brought forth beauty from ashes Richard Holloway Like all too few memoirs, in a bloated, me-me age, Maggie & Me ends all too soon. Imagine one of the sharper Mitford sisters cruelly reborn into the family from Shameless and you've an idea of the treat in store. Barr tells his engaging, sad-funny story of a camp, bright lad in dire circumstances in Thatcher-era Motherwell in such a beguilingly confiding, arm-linking style, that I felt I'd made a new best friend only to lose them to a world of glittering opportunities. Read this at once before someone films it, as they most surely will Patrick Gale Shocking and funny in equal measure, and will have you weeping with laughter and sorrow -- Katy Guest Independent on Sunday This is the most vital, visceral memoir since Jeanette Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? ... Barr's depiction is so pungent, so earth-shattering it's a universal story of alienation - one for anyone who's ever felt desperate to escape. His childhood, evoked with such cheek-biting tenderness, now seems more real and more Technicolor than my own. I won't be happy until everyone reads this book Patrick Strudwick
Damian Barr has been a journalist for over ten years writing mostly for The Times but also the Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Evening Standard and Granta. He is the author of Get It Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis, featured on Richard & Judy, and has co-written two plays for BBC Radio 4. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Faculty at the School of Life and host of the infamous Literary Salon at Shoreditch House. He lives in Brighton. @Damian_Barr