THERE’S nothing I like more than reading a book or watching a film that is set in a familiar location. There’s something about it that is able to sweep you off your feet and into the set and be there like a fly on the wall observing the characters. Being able to stand there in stealth mode taking it all in is a treat for the imagination.
I’d been meaning to read this book for ages but you know what it’s like. Binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix took up a lot of my time and my self-diagnosed ADHD allows me to concentrate on only one thing at a time.
I’m already a fan of Gerard Brennan’s writing. He has been described as Belfast’s version of Irvine Welsh. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed hearing that because I always wanted to hold that title. I guess I’m not that vulgar and obscene enough yet. But I’m working on it. Sorry about that mother dearest.
A few years ago, Brennan’s play The Sweety Bottle co-written with his father; played to sell-out crowds and standing ovations in the Roddies. I have genuinely never heard my father in law laugh as heartily in all the years I’ve known him. We always take him to see a play as a birthday or Christmas present. It gets him a night out and it’s something we know he’ll appreciate. Hearing him enjoying the show made us feel good that we picked a good one.
Anyway, back to the book.
Book being a bit of a lie because I went for the el cheapo option of downloading it on my kindle app. It cost a massive £1.79 and the author tells me he can now afford to buy his kids a 10p mix up each with the royalties.
The story centres on a cluster of neighbours in Beechmount who all have ties to a group of hoods. These hoods were given the name ‘the Wee Rockets’ by the local paper. Some of them you’ll warm to and some you’ll want to give a hiding to yourself.
Joe is the leader of the gang and comes from a single parent home. It’s bit of a cliche but it works. The story is woven around him and his relationship with his friends and family. He’s at an impressionable age and stuck between being a hood and going on the straight and narrow.
One of the characters is the worst vigilante in the world, worst being that he cannot fight and hasn’t beaten anyone up – he’s just a knob. West Belfast is full of these people. Reading the story you’ll recognise him as a stereotypical community activist. I have a strong feeling about whom this character is based on but I don’t want to end up in court or minus a limb so I’ll say no more.
If you love a lot of swearing, a few sex scenes, offensive ma jokes and violence – then this book is for you. If you don’t, then avert your eyes and douse yourself in holy water because this book will shock you to your core.