DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, March 08, 2020

Matt visits the Greenhills (review)


Tales from the Greenhills – Tommy Dywer 2 weeks in the summer of ’76

Terry Melia (@FromGreenhills)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“his mum told my mum he woke up screaming every night for a week afterwards…”

Choose life, choose 1970’s Liverpool, choose a social realist coming of age tale, choose music, hanging out, sex and drugs… Tales from the Greenhills is a killer trip fusing love, violence and friendship into a pure “must read” nostalgia hit.

Meet Tommy Dwyer a young scallywag trying to survive on the mean streets of his urban hometown of Liverpool. It’s 1976 and life dealing Tommy some tough breaks. His working-class family is dysfunctional, money is tight, his best pal is his dog Butch and his girlfriend has left him. Worse still is the lurking danger of gangs roaming the streets, dealing drugs and smashing faces – this is a powerful, raw and compelling trip to a recent past that channels the ‘This is England’ vibe.

"the only reason I'd thought about Liverpool '76 before now...'

Melia writes with a concise and cool narrative style; at times it almost feels like a diary of reminisces. The details feel ‘lived through’ and whilst not political it makes a great insight into how the world was back in the days before the internet, social media etc.

The best stories give you either characters that you care about and / or a world that fascinates and engages you. Tommy’s adventures in the Greenhills blends both these and explores themes of love and loss, growing up, crime and redemption, as well as masculinity, guilt, peer-pressure and morality.
I really enjoyed the pop references, e.g. the reactions to The Exorcist (see opening quote) and some zen-like philosophy picked up on a Welsh camping trip. There is much to enjoy in this novel and I’ll be keen to see what Terry Melia writes next.

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

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(5 - ‘Liverpool gets its Trainspotting...)

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