10 April 2017
A Good Read
Untorn Tickets by Paul Burke
Essentially a coming of age tale.
Notting Hill 1978, the story focuses on Andy Zymancyk and Dave Kelly the teenage offspring of staunchly Catholic Polish and Irish families. Both are pupils of St Bede's Roman Catholic Grammar School for Boys, an institution whose "manifesto of academic and sporting excellence, religious fervour and iron discipline" is described by headmaster, Father "Johnny Mac" McLafferty, as "work hard, play hard and pray hard".
Part-time jobs in Westbourne Grove's Gaumont Cinema provide the boys with rather a different kind of education which changes their lives in more ways than they can imagine.
They become friends and together develop a scam whereby they resell untorn cinema tickets and recycle coke cups to supplement their meagre wages--just the thing when old soul 45s, mod suits, Vespa scooters, Ford Cortinas and girls appear infinitely more interesting than school work and Catholic piety.
At the cinema, Dave meets and falls in love with Rachel, a glamorous Jewish girl, who, like him, craves freedom from unquestioning religious conformity. Andy too is in love, unfortunately, the recipient of his infatuation is his cousin, Alison.
With schemes afoot to transform St Bede's sixth form into a separate college, and plans to turn the Gaumont into a bingo hall, the future looks less than rosy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's very funny, poignant and nostalgic with great characters.