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Maggie & Me by Damian Barr

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An abusive childhood in bleak surroundings watched over by the all-powerful woman on the telly, the one that takes away the jobs and shuts down the steelworks, the backbone of the town. Rather than Big Brother this is Big Sister as observed on the TV news, the root of the worry and hatred of the adults, Damien Barr shows us a different child’s eye view of Margaret Thatcher, the woman who hates gay people too and he knows that’s him. He knows too that he will get out and his determination to leave behind the town, the joblessness and the lack of hope is a central pillar of a book which records a place and a time that shows the 1980’s in all its horror.

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Maggie & Me by 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.


Shocking and funny in equal measure, and will have you weeping with laughter and sorrow -- Katy Guest Independent on Sunday

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

About the Author

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. Damian Barr was named Writer of the Year at the 2013 Stonewall Awards. He lives in Brighton.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th March 2014


Damian Barr

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


256 pages


Biography / Autobiography
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