Review of ‘Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.’ by Malcolm Duffy

‘It was the day the clocks went back. That’s when I decided to kill him.’

14-year-old Danny is a proud Geordie. His obsessions are football and his crush, Amy. But then his mam meets Callum. Wealthy and generous, he seems all right… until he gets angry. She starts to change. Danny loves his mam, so he decides to take action. The problem is, there are lies and secrets everywhere. And why won’t anyone talk about his real dad?

This YA novel is fantastic. Once of the themes is domestic abuse, which Malcolm Duffy is raising the reader’s awareness of by demonstrating the behaviour associated with it in the relationship between Kim (Danny’s mother) and her abusive partner Callum. I also saw the story as a cautionary tale because Danny is reluctant to report the abuse; the alternative way he chooses to deal with the situation has serious consequences. The darkness of this theme is balanced by the honest and heartwarming narration. Danny’s voice is authentic, funny and consistent. His tone is observational so we can infer for ourselves how the characters are feeling. I loved that he’s from Tyneside (as is the author) and an enthusiastic speaker of the dialect. Part of the book is set in Edinburgh and again it was great to have some Scots words included. It makes a refreshing change from stories set in London.

Another theme is love – Danny’s love for his mam, her love for him (and their need to protect each other), the love (or lack of) between fathers and sons, the adolescent love between Danny and his girlfriend Amy and finally the abusive relationships which can be disguised as love. I think that Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. is a special novel, easy to read, simply told, both humorous and heart-wrenching. It would be a great addition to any teen’s bookshelf, to a school library, or to the collection of anyone who’s in the mood to read a book within 24 hours (the page count is over 300 but it’s just unputdownable!) – I’m looking forward to Malcolm Duffy’s next novel already.

This post is part of a blog tour which began on December 3rd and finishes on the 9th – raising the profile of this brilliant book!

Thank you kindly to Jade at Head of Zeus for the review copy. This book is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook and is published by Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus.

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