Scratch By Danny Gillan

I was so buggered I chose not to notice the flash of discomfort that crossed Paula’s face when she realised the only empty seat at the table was next to her. I plopped myself down with a sigh and tried to smile as I raised my pint to my lips (I can’t remember what I’d poured for myself but it wasn’t bloody Moosehead, I know that).

Sammy lifted his glass from the other end of the large round table. ‘Well done, Jim,’ he said. ‘Welcome to the underground.’

‘Cheers,’ I said.

‘Do yourself a favour, though,’ Sammy went on, ‘and stop walloping my favourite barmaid in the tits, okay?’

I cringed, but heard Paula laugh along with everyone else.

‘I’m so sorry about that,’ I said to her as the rest of the table resumed their various conversations.

‘Yeah, don’t worry about it,’ she said, chuckling.

‘Normally I wait till the second meeting before attempting a fondle.’

Well, I can honestly say I learned a few things. I learned what the difference between an idiot and a wanker is…I learned a ton of new words from the UK (and areas) and how to use them appropriately…like giro…that means an unemployment cheque…Thanks to my good UK friend, Tom Conrad Indie Author of Rich Pickings For Ravens  for his insight into that one…and that life doesn’t always give you want you want.

James Cooper was a thirty-three year old boy who learns to become a man. While working at a call centre for a utilities company in Scotland, Jim realizes that past wrongs can be made up for. While working, he comes across a letter from Simon Fraser, the father of his ex-girlfriend, Paula. If it had been anyone else, he would have given them a song and a dance about how the company couldn’t help him. But, this was the father of his ex-girlfriend. Jim tells Simon the truth, quits his job, sells his flat and goes to live with his less-than-enthusiastic parents. Essentially, starting over by scratch.

Jim has never been able to get rid of the memory of Irish-born Paula. She will forever be the perfect girl. He’s had relationships, but for each one, he keeps comparing them to Paula…and Paula always comes out on top.

Then Paula walks into the pub. The bar that Jim is now working in again after twelve years. Paula informs Jim that she has been married for five years and that, because of a failed business attempt with her husband, they are broke. She moves back in with her parents while her husband stays behind to look after his ailing grandfather.

Jim is on top of the world, thinking that he might have a chance with Paula again. After a night of drinking, he blurts out that he loves her. Lo, she blurts out that she loves him back…that she always has loved him.

Along the way, we meet is-he-or-isn’t-he-gay friend, Terry, Paula’s father Simon (or Joe) who gives him some prophetic life advice, and a wonderful bunch of colourful characters, including gay pub owner, Sam.

Will Paula and Jim live happily ever after? And, what about Paula’s husband? And, what are these prophetic life lessons and advice that Simon (Joe) tells Jim? I dare say you’ll have to buy this book to find out what happens.

I laughed on every single page. Well, more of a titter, I suppose. I found something humorous in every analogy, every remark, every page…well, until the end. Then it kind of fell off.

I even cried a little in one part, but hoped the ending would make up for it. It didn’t. I was quite disappointed. No, I don’t expect the guy to ALWAYS get the girl, but this ending was kind of like, mediocre….blah.

This coming-of-age-a-little-too-late story was worth the read. I have to admit that the rest of the book (sans ending) was great. Well, maybe the characters drank just a bit too much, but after all, most of the book does take place in a pub.

Would I recommend this book? Yeah, for a nice light-hearted read…for the laughs, but be prepared for a less than stellar ending. The author, I think, could have done better.

I’m giving this book 4 stars.



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4 responses to “Scratch By Danny Gillan

  1. The book sounds like it has potential, Beth! Good review!

    I’ve been familiar enough with English vernacular that words like wanker are familiar enough. I find I rather prefer knackered, which is a British tired…

  2. conspiracyqueen

    I agree with Mari four stars isn’t bad.

    Hugs and chocolate,

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