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Published: 30 January 2017
Reviewed: 30 December 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Cranachan Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the very moment I heard about this book I knew it would instantly be added to my wish list, it sounded funny but sad, warm yet dark and seeing as I have a soft spot for Scottish books and independent publishers there was no chance I would be missing out on reading this book.

“Mary’s The Name” is a special book and one I will revisit before the year is out, there’s just something so lovely about the plot, the characters and the style of writing that feels ‘just right’ for me and I could happily read it again despite knowing what happens.  Why?  Because quite simply it touches the heart of a reader and leaves you wanting more.  Allow me to explain….

Our main wee lassie Mary is eight, she has the innocence and naivety befitting her years but yet she has profound moments of startling clarity that most adults would struggle to maintain.  Her views on life are simple, bad people do bad things, and good people do good things.
Using Mary as the narrator allows Ross Sayers to explore the topics of love, loss and life through the eyes of an eight year old, giving the reader an insight into a mindset they might not have encountered.  Doing this does not make certain subjects less emotive or heart breaking, I would say it makes them even more so because you experience them through Mary’s eyes, but seeing her tenacity and determination to keep going is rewarding.

The use of local dialect in this is utterly fantastic, I absolutely loved reading the dialogue between Mary and her Granpa, often chuckling out loud at bits because so much of Mary’s stubborn streak reminded me of someone.  The vernacular added an authenticity to this, as did incorporating aspects of historical information from Skye.
Ross Sayers has a gift for making the settings of his book come alive, having been to Skye I can honestly say that I was fondly remembering the main street in Portree from the vivid descriptions in “Mary’s The Name”, seeing the views that were mentioned as Mary explored her new surroundings.  It felt obvious to me that the author had spent time researching the settings for his book and had taken great effort to recreate this through his writing.

The pace of the book is perfect, it’s the sort of book that you could read in a day if you got peace and quiet.  The style of writing is easy and enjoyable to read, the story flows well and you can’t help but get swept away by it.

If you want to read something funny, heart warming, heart breaking and full of reference to Elvis then this is the book for you, just make sure you have plenty tissues before you start because it’s not a book you want to put down!

You can buy a copy of “Mary’s The Name” here.

Oh one last thing – check out the way Ross Sayers was promoting his book, if that’s not inventive and groundbreaking I don’t know what is!

About the Author:

Ross Sayers is a writer of Scottish fiction, and his debut novel, ‘Mary’s the Name’, is released January 30th 2017.

Ross graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014, with a BA (Hons) in English Studies (first class), and graduated again in 2015 with an M.Litt in Creative Writing (distinction).

His stories and poems have featured in magazines such as Quotidian and Octavius, and his short story, ‘Dancin’ is currently used on West College Scotland’s Higher English course.

You can tweet him @Sayers33 or see more of his writing at rosssayers.co.uk.

 

 

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