Preston, 1981. Maud, who is twelve and lives with her dysfunctional parents and her elder brother, spends a lot of her time in her bedroom writing letters to her favourite popstar, Tom Harding, the lead singer of a punk band called Horsefly.
No one really understands her or tries to – and she thinks Tom just might have some answers to her many, many questions…
Your Friend Forever is written mostly in the form of letters from the young teenage Maud to Tom Harding, lead singer with 80s Indie punk band Horsefly. There are also some interactions between Tom and his manager Gary, Maud and her best friend Sarah and articles from pop magazines of the time such as Melody Maker.
In Part One Maud’s home life spirals downwards when her father walks out and she has to watch her mother deteriorate day by day. With no-one to confide in, apart from her crazy, sex-mad friend Sarah, she pours her heart out to Tom Harding. She doesn’t even know if he reads her letters, but it gives her someone to ‘talk’ to. Maud is always hungry and their house is damp. She never has clean clothes. But no-one at school seems to notice and I mean the teachers. I know this is 1981 but still. Maybe no-one called social services in those days but surely the school should have noticed.
In Part Two it’s now 2011 and Maud is 43 and married with two kids, while Tom is trying to keep his career going (no thanks to idiot Gary), but he is nearly 50 and who remembers Horsefly anyway? Well, Maud does. She starts writing to Tom again – we have switched to email and texts – telling him about her life but always asking him how he is. She is still his friend. Think Adrian Mole with sex and some very bad language (much of it from Sarah).
This was such a funny, touching and often heart-breaking read. Maud is an amazing kid, whose train of thought is often so tangential you can barely keep up with her. Her friend Sarah is totally nuts on the outside, but has experienced severe trauma that will stay with her for years. And Tom is just Tom. Rude and bad-tempered (as any good punk should be) and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but underneath good-hearted, kind and empathic. Just don’t try and rip him off or tell lies about him.
Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours
About The Author
Zena Barrie lives in Manchester and runs the Greater Manchester Fringe and the Camden Fringe. She ran the Kings Arms pub and Theatre in Salford for a while and also the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, as well as working in a wide variety of roles at the Edinburgh Fringe (from street performer to venue manager). In the 90s she did a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts specialising in playwriting. Up until recently she has been co-hosting the award winning spoken word night Verbose. She is also one half of performance art duo The Sweet Clowns. Your Friend Forever is her first novel.
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