* THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER *
Young Mary Newton, born into a large Irish family in a small Watford semi, was always getting into trouble. When she wasn’t choking back fits of giggles at Holy Communion or eating Chappie dog food for a bet, she was accidentally setting fire to the local school. Mary was a trouble magnet. And, unlike her brothers, somehow she always got caught…
Britain in the 1970s was a world where R White's lemonade was drunk in secret, curry came in a cardboard box marked Vesta and Beanz meant Heinz. In Mary’s family, money was scarce. Clothes were hand-me-downs, holidays a church day out to Hastings and meals were variations on the potato. But these were also good times which revolved around the force of nature that was Theresa, Mary’s mum.
When tragedy unexpectedly blows this world apart, a new chapter in Mary’s life opens up. She takes to the camp and glamour of Harrods window dressing like a duck to water, and Mary, Queen of Shops is born…
Portas writes with wit and verve... The book has the narrative charm of Anita and Me or The Buddha of Suburbia; so when the darkness comes it's genuinely shocking. Shop Girl is a testament to survival. But most of all it is a love letter to her mother, Mary Flynn. Every joke, argument, cake baked, tenderness proffered, sings off the page. 'To my mum - How lucky was I getting you' is the book's dedication. And we are lucky to read it.
Enormous fun, readable, nostalgic, poignant and authentic... Read it then give it to your daughter
Absolutely fabulous... Colourful, camp and unexpectedly heart-rending, I loved it.
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