Life: An Exploded Diagram

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Review

Clem is a working-class boy who has made it to the local grammar school; his home life in 1960s Norfolk is permeated by his parent's unhappy marriage and the forbidding presence of his curmudgeonly grandmother. When Clem meets the beautiful Frankie, the daughter of a wealthy local landowner, the pair are immediately attracted to each other and embark upon a clandestine relationship.

In this intelligent young adult novel, Clem's coming-of-age story of first love and burgeoning sexuality is woven around a tense account of the mounting Cuban Missile Crisis and the looming threat of nuclear war. Soon the two story strands meet in a shocking and unexpected climax. Deftly written and highly original, this engrossing novel from an award-winning author offers a thought-provoking read for teenagers and adults alike.

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