I have never been to Newcastle. I know that it’s pretty cold up there, there’s a fancy looking angel monument that they’re pretty impressed with and I know that mistaking a Geordie for a Mackie or vice versa is bad news. Receiving a copy of Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. by Malcolm Duffy was exciting as it was an amazing way of experiencing Geordie lingo and learning a little more about their traditions. This book is incredibly important in more ways than one- it’s a book that will make you think, a book that will appeal to your emotions and a book that will influence in a positive way if used correctly.
Danny is 14 years old and is used to it being just him and his mum- and until a year ago, when Callum entered the scene, it was. Danny and his mum are very close- they don’t have a lot of money, their council flat is cold and dark but all in all, they’re pretty content. When Danny’s mum meets Callum, they move into his fancy house and everything, from the outside, looks and sounds marvellous. Who wouldn’t want to live in a big house with fancy presents and the like?
This story explores the concept that not everything is as it seems – not everything is as good as it appears on the outside. Because in reality, Callum isn’t a particularly nice man. He bullies Danny’s mother, to the point that she heavily drinks. She has isolated herself from her friends and family and pushes Danny away when he tries to alert her to the dangers of domestic violence. Callum hits his mother and quite frankly, enough is enough. Danny goes in search of his father in an attempt to save his mother from this horrible man.
This story is not a fairytale. It doesn’t necessarily end happily but it does end realistically and that’s the most important thing. Books like this are always hard to read as you find yourself wondering how you would react if you were in the same situation. Danny was a very thoughtful character with good intentions but in reality, no 14-year-old child is able to cope with a situation such as this and for that reason, his response to the situation doesn’t necessarily result in positive actions. The important that Malcolm Duffy is telling through Danny is important and the sad reality is that children of Danny’s age experience this same thing on a daily basis. This book is important – it would be perfect to read and study at school, for example- and Duffy’s snappy, often heart-warming narrative is fantastic.