Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Title: Thalidomide Kid
Author: Kate Rigby
This is a brilliant story of growing up, relationships, expectations and so much more, as well as being an insightful look at living with disabilities and prejudice.
Daryl Wainwright’s Mum had taken Thalidomide to help her cope with morning sickness whilst she was expecting him. The side effect of this medication means Daryl was born with underdeveloped arms. He’s bright, determined and his Mum has fought for him to attend school with his peers rather than being sent to a special school. At school he nicknames himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’. He has his own ways of dealing with difficulties, coping with bullies and life. This story follows him as he moves from primary to secondary school and his relationship with Celia Burkett. Celia is the daughter of the new deputy Head at the secondary school they’re both going to attend. With his father in prison and many of his older siblings being known as petty thieves, the reputation of Daryl’s family mean that Celia’s Dad definitely doesn’t want her befriending Daryl. The story follows the two through secondary school, relationships with each other and others and deals with many issues that are just as relevant today as they were in the 1970s when this story is set.
This is a very moving and thought provoking story, exploring so many aspects of growing up, most of which we all hope our own children will never directly experience. It is grittyand had me cringing at times over how some people treated Daryl but his innate sense of worth and good humour usually saw him through. The parental expectations and guidance are shown to be dramatically misplaced at times, especially in their attitudes to their children’s peers. Both Celia and Daryl are the youngest child in their family and their relationships with their siblings form an integral part of the story. The ending wasn’t what I’d originally hoped for but it was more true to life as well s being extremely appropriate. There’s plenty of drama, some humour and shocks in store as you read this intriguing coming of age story and one that I suspect I’ll remember – and choose to re-read – for many years to come.
I requested and was gifted a copy of this book without obligation. I chose to read it and this is my honest opinion after doing so.
Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.
Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.
The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.
Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England. She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.
She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write ab
out it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.
However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.
Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).
Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.
She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.
She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).
She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback
More information can be found at her website:
Or her blog:
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Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the tour it is part of. The review is my own, honest opinion after choosing to read a copy of this story.